/ Racing

Big guns stand ground in Cheltenham novice contests

Updated: Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013 18:41 | Comments

Simonsig is a best-price 5-6 favourite for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham
Simonsig is a best-price 5-6 favourite for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham

With only 20 days to go before the start of the Cheltenham Festival, the eight novice hurdles and chases are beginning to take shape following the latest confirmation stage.

A total of 53 go forward for the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle, with JP McManus holding a strong hand with My Tent Or Yours and Jezki.

Among the 41 horses scratched were Nicky Richards' duo of Duke Of Navan and Eduard and Clive Cox's Poet.

Of the remaining entries, 18 are Irish-trained including Un Atout, Champagne Fever, Pique Sous and Mozoltov for Willie Mullins.

Many contenders are also in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle including The New One and Don Cossack.

Also among the 74 to stand their ground are Pont Alexandre, Whispering Gallery and Taquin De Seuil.

All the major contenders are left in the JCB Triumph Hurdle with 47 in the field while 76 are left in the Albert Bartlett following 31 scratchings.

A total of 21 remain in the Arkle, headed by hot favourite Simonsig, although Boston Bob and Cantlow were among 12 withdrawals.

There are 58 left in the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase, including Back In Focus, Harry Topper and Goulanes, while Houblon Des Obeaux and Rocky Creek have been taken out.

The RSA Chase has just 31 going forward with 15 of them hailing from Ireland. The likes of Boston Bob, Lord Windermere and Lyreen Legend will take on a home team headed by Dynaste.

Boston Bob also remains as one of 40 in the Jewson, along with Dynaste. Among the 23 Irish entries are Texas Jack and Aupcharlie.

Captain Conan, Molotof and Module are also there.

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