Cheltenham hits fever pitch with Gold Cup big guns

The highlight of the National Hunt calendar, the Cheltenham Festival, is near to reaching its conclusion today. But it is this final day when the Cheltenham crowd reaches fever pitch for today will see jump racing's biggest stars battling it out for Gold Cup glory.

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Each year, fans of National Hunt horse racing turn out in their thousands for the Blue Riband event but in recent times one particular rivalry has dominated conversations between pundits and punters alike – Denman versus Kauto Star. Heated debates will abound between now and 3.20pm when the two Paul Nicholls stablemates are set to renew their rivalry and there's a score to settle.

Back in 2007, the athletic Kauto Star fully realised his potential when claiming his first Gold Cup but he was unable to live with Denman, nicknamed "The Tank" for very good reason, and his relentless power in the 2008 renewal.

Yet Kauto last year became the first horse in history to regain the Gold Cup crown and he is currently favourite to make it three. Since last year's battle Denman has fallen, won his second Hennessy Gold Cup and unseated his newest and current jockey, 14-times champion Tony McCoy.

Kauto Star, on the other hand, has won both his starts this season, including his fourth King George and has the assistance of Ruby Walsh, who this week entered the record books by becoming the most successful Cheltenham jockey in history.

But will it be a two-horse race once again?

Also bidding for Cheltenham glory are the tough and talented Imperial Commander, the quirky Cooldine and the Grand National-entered Tricky Trickster.

There is no doubt that the battles of Kauto Star and Denman have sparked renewed interest among the general public but theirs is a story that will also go down in history as one of the great National Hunt rivalries.

The big question, though, is who will you be on?