Al Boum Photo heads 31 horses among 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup entries after those who accepted for the blue riband event of steeplechasing at the early closing stage were revealed.
That total is the lowest for at least a decade in the Cheltenham Festival’s showpiece race – one fewer than in 2016.
A maximum field of 24 can contest the Gold Cup, so only seven of the potential field would be balloted out if all the early closing acceptors stood their ground.
Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins has four Cheltenham Gold Cup entries in this renewal.
Joining Al Boum Photo from his Closutton yard are stable companions Bellshill, Betway Bowl and Punchestown Gold Cup hero Kemboy, and Real Steel.
Mullins’ main Emerald Isle rival Gordon Elliott, meanwhile, also has four Cheltenham Gold Cup entries.
Savills Chase winner Delta Work is joined by fellow Gigginstown House Stud owned horses Death Duty, mare Shattered Love and Alpha Des Obeaux.
Henry De Bromhead is triple-handed courtesy of 2018 Ryanair Chase victor Balko Des Flos, Chris’s Dream and Monalee.
Fellow Irish handler Jessica Harrington, meanwhile, gives 2017 Gold Cup hero Sizing John an entry alongside Jett.
The biggest representation from a British stable though, comes from Colin Tizzard’s yard.
He has three Cheltenham Gold Cup entries with 2018 winner Native River, Betfair Chase hero Lostintranslation and last year’s sixth, Elegant Escape.
King George and Newbury victors entered
Tizzard trained veteran Thistlecrack isn’t engaged, however, raising the possibility of him going in the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Another notable absentee is Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite – runner-up in 2018 – and Irish raider Anibale Fly, who placed in each of the last two Gold Cups.
British champion trainer Paul Nicholls has dual King George VI Chase hero Clan Des Obeaux and 2019 Ryanair Chase winner Frodon engaged.
Henderson, meanwhile, relies solely on the lightly-raced Santini. There is no Altior, however.
Wiltshire handler Emma Lavelle has Ladbrokes Trophy victor De Rasher Counter among Cheltenham Gold Cup entries.
Phil Kirby’s Wetherby specialist and Rowland Meyrick winner Top Ville Ben, meanwhile, is the sole representative from a northern stable.
Previous Cheltenham Festival winners Presenting Percy and Road To Respect are other Irish raiders engaged.
Last year’s Gold Cup third Bristol De Mai is the only horse entered for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.
Al Boum Photo remains favourite with bookmakers to retain his crown ahead of Kemboy, although recent history is against him.
Despite only finishing fifth in the Gold Cup last year, Clan Des Obeaux is rated a leading British contender alongside Lostintranslation – who has had a wind op since the King George.
Delta Work and Santini are both available at best-price double figure odds and, Presenting Percy apart, the remainder of entries are 20/1 and bigger.
Full 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup entries
- Al Boum Photo (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Alpha Des Obeaux (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
- Balko Des Flos (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)
- Bellshill (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Bristol De Mai (Nigel Twiston-Davies)
- Cepage (Venetia Williams)
- Chris’s Dream (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)
- Clan Des Obeaux (Paul Nicholls)
- Death Duty (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
- Delta Work (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
- De Rasher Counter (Emma Lavelle)
- Discorama (Paul Nolan, IRE)
- Elegant Escape (Colin Tizzard)
- Frodon (Paul Nicholls)
- Jett (Jessica Harrington, IRE)
- Kauto Riko (Tom Gretton)
- Kemboy (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- La Bague Au Roi (Warren Greatrex)
- Lostintranslation (Colin Tizzard)
- Mister Whittaker (Mick Channon)
- Monalee (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)
- Native River (Colin Tizzard)
- Presenting Percy (Pat Kelly, IRE)
- Real Steel (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Road To Respect (Noel Meade, IRE)
- Saint Calvados (Harry Whittington)
- Santini (Nicky Henderson)
- Shattered Love (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
- Sizing John (Jessica Harrington, IRE)
- The Conditional (David Bridgwater)
- Top Ville Ben (Phil Kirby)