Mohican among Dovecote 11
First Mohican and Irving feature among 11 entries for Saturday's Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle at Kempton.
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Alan King's First Mohican was formerly trained by Sir Henry and Lady Cecil on the Flat and earned a quote of 14/1 from the sponsors for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham after making a winning debut over timber at Doncaster.
He could bid to give King a fourth victory in the Grade Two contest, following wins for Senorita Rumbalita, Trenchant and Grumeti, who struck in 2012 and syndicate manager Henry Ponsonby is full of confidence.
"First Mohican has come out of his win at Doncaster fantastically well and is a definite runner in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle," he said.
"I thought he would win a bit more impressively than he did, but Alan tells me that he has come on a ton since then. He worked very well on Friday and you would not know he had a race.
"I think he's stones better than the bare result at Doncaster, but don't forget that Huff And Puff was a good horse on the Flat as well.
"I think First Mohican has got a tremendous chance on Saturday and, even if Irving runs, I'm not too concerned as First Mohican was a better horse on the Flat.
"Hopefully, after the Dovecote it will be on to Cheltenham for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle."
Paul Nicholls' leading novice Irving missed an intended engagement in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on account of the soft ground but was also left in at the five-day stage following a pleasing workout on Monday morning (click here).
Nicholls has a second string to his bow in the shape of Fascino Rustico, who fell when favourite at Wincanton earlier in the month.
The John Ferguson-trained Dubai Prince may attempt to bounce back to winning ways having not quite delivered on his hugely promising hurdling debut success in two subsequent outings.
Ferguson also has Mijhaar to call upon, while Nicky Henderson has Cup Final entered and Philip Hobbs' sole representative is Garde La Victoire.
The 11 possible contenders are completed by Amore Alato, Clonusker, Germany Calling and Vaihau.
The sponsors have put up an opening show, installing First Mohican as 6/4 favourite, with Irving next in the betting at 2/1 and Amore Alato at 7/1.
Michael Shinners, Racing PR for Sky Bet, commented: "This is the last recognised trial for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle before the big day at Cheltenham on March 11.
"We are delighted with the quality of the race and with First Mohican and possibly Irving both running, we will have a clearer idea on Saturday evening of what are going to be the main challengers from this side of the Irish Sea."