An Irish horse has not won the Cheltenham Gold Cup since War of Attrition obliged for trainer Mouse Morris in 2006.

Ireland’s best chance this year of winning the blue riband event in the sport appears to be with Last Instalment, who returned to action in January after just short of two years off the track.

In his second start back since his absence, he won the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup when going at 8/1 for the Grade One contest, which included Tidal Bay, First Lieutenant and Lord Windermere.

The Philip Fenton trained runner will carry the silks of Gigginstown House Stud, who had the second in the Gold Cup in 2013 when Sir Des Champs chased home Bobs Worth up the hill at Prestbury Park.

Nicky Henderson’s defending champion is the ante-post favourite to win the Gold Cup once again. If successful, he will be the first horse since Best Mate in 2004 to prevail in back-to-back runnings of the 3m2f contest.

The campaign did not start well for the talented chaser as he finished a long way behind Cue Card in his seasonal reappearance at Haydock in November. That Betfair Chase run forced bookmakers to push his odds out for Cheltenham success. However, they were soon cut once again when he scored in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown during their Festive Meeting.

Silviniaco Conti is Bobs Worth’s nearest challenger in the Cheltenham betting for the feature of the meeting. He fell three fences from home 12 months ago, but before his error, was very much in contention as he was travelling strongly despite the runners approaching the closing stages of their trip.

Paul Nicholls’ runner returned this season to win the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing where he beat Cue Card for the prestigious contest.

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