Pont heads Neptune possibles

  • Last Updated: February 20 2013, 13:11 GMT

The leading contenders have stood their ground for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Pont Alexandre: Holds entries in the Neptune and Albert Bartlett
Pont Alexandre: Holds entries in the Neptune and Albert Bartlett

Willie Mullins' Pont Alexandre and Nigel Twiston-Davies' The New One both remain on track to meet at next month's Festival.

Both runners still have a choice of entries at Cheltenham as do many of the remaining 74 entries.

Mullins still has a dozen possible runners to choose from with last year's Champion Bumper winner and Un Atout other possibles while Mouse Morris could still run impressive Naas winner Rule The World.

Nicky Henderson, successful 12 months ago, could be represented by My Tent Or Yours' conqueror Chatterbox and last weekend's Ffos Las winner Whisper with Taquin Du Seuil and Melodic Rendezvous other notable entries.

Taquin Du Seuil is still engaged in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle for which 76 horses have stood their ground, including stablemate Cloudy Copper who is the more prominent of the pair in the betting.

At Fishers Cross has headed the market since beating The New One on Trials' Day at Prestbury Park and Rebecca Curtis' charge is reported to be on course to line up.

Vying for favouritism is the Mullins-trained Ballycasey who is unbeaten in three starts under Rules with Coneygree, African Gold and Gevrey Chambertin other leading candidates.

Nigel Twiston-Davies is sweet on the chances of his African Gold who he believes has gone under the radar.

The five-year-old has only lost one of his six races, on his hurdling debut at Carlisle, and rattled off a four-timer when carrying a double penalty at Doncaster earlier in the month.

African Gold's price has been contracting in price for the three-mile race, but he can still be backed at around 16-1.

"You'll see him next in the Albert Bartlett and I think he's the perfect type for the race," said Twiston-Davies.

"He's done absolutely everything we've asked of him this season and he keeps on pulling more out.

"He's not flashy, but I don't think flashy types win these races - he's very progressive. What with him and The New One I think we're heading there with some very good chances this year."

There are 47 possibles for the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Dessie Hughes' impressive Spring Hurdle winner Our Conor chief among them.

Diakali could re-oppose but Mullins' strength in depth is further advertised as the County Carlow handler has no fewer than half a dozen other possibles.

Nicky Henderson's quartet are headed by impressive Trial winner Rolling Star while Far West heads Paul Nicholls' quintet.

John Quinn, responsible for last year's winner Countrywide Flame, could saddle Kashmir Peak and Calculated Risk in his bid to retain the prize.

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