Chatham, United Kingdom, February 08, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- Cheltenhamfestival.net: "The Nicky Henderson-trained hurdler is amongst the favourites for the showpiece race on the Thursday of the Festival, and connections are keen to try him out over three miles again before committing him to that race."
The eight-year-old was going as well as anything in last year's World Hurdle, his sole outing over three miles, until stopping quickly between the last two flights, suggesting a lack of stamina was to blame.
However, his trainer is far from convinced that's the case, preferring to believe he wasn't right, saying: “I’m still not convinced about last year’s World Hurdle. He would not have won at two and a half and that is what confuses me. I don’t think he was right.”
The gelding has since won three times, including over an extended two and a half miles at the track last month, so Saturday’s race is very much an acid test of his stamina.
He will likely be joined by the Nick Williams-trained Reve de Sivola, who galloped his way into the World Hurdle picture when landing the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last time out in impressive fashion.
"Touch wood, he's on course for the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham next Saturday. He did well at Ascot so hopefully we are going there," said his owner Paul Duffy.
A total of 16 entries were received at the five-day stage and they include Lexus hero Tidal Bay, who still remains a possible for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and his stablemate Kauto Stone.
Trainer Mark Bradstock could be double-handed with 2011 Hennessy winner Carruthers and Coneygree, who was impressive when landing a Grade 2 novice hurdle at the track in December.
Other entries in what should be a fascinating contest are Walkon, runner-up in both the Paddy Power and Paul Stewart Charity Gold Cups, and Peddlers Cross, who reverts to smaller obstacles after a mixed campaign over fences last season.
The race is due off 3.35 on Saturday and contingency plans are already in place should the meeting be lost to the weather, with the likelihood being the race will be rescheduled for another day at the track. You can follow all the latest news ahead of the meeting with Cheltenhamfestival.net