Final Festival entries revealed

  • Last Updated: February 27 2013, 12:04 GMT

Entries for all 27 races at the Cheltenham Festival are now in the public domain with the unveiling of the contenders for the Grade Two OLBG Mares' Hurdle, the Grade One Weatherbys Champion Bumper and the CGA Foxhunter Chase.

Quevega: Heads the final set of entries

Quevega heads 36 entries for the £85,000 Grade Two OLBG Mares' Hurdle.

The Willlie Mullins-trained nine-year-old is bidding to become only the second horse to win a race at the Festival on five occasions following Golden Miller, who captured the Cheltenham Gold Cup five times between 1932 and 1936.

Her main dangers this year may come from her own stable, with Mullins also being responsible for Grade Three scorers Tarla and Zuzka.

Nicky Henderson has entered top-class French import Utopie Des Bordes and last season's Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle winner Une Artiste, who is unbeaten this term, while Emma Lavelle could be represented by Cleeve Hurdle third Kentford Grey Lady.

The Grade One Weatherbys Champion Bumper, worth £60,000, has attracted 51 entries.

Irish-trained horses have won 15 of the 20 renewals of the race and a typically strong challenge from the Emerald Isle features Tony Martin's Golantilla, who was reportedly purchased by leading Irish owner Barry Connell for 375,000 euros after a 13-length success at Cork in January, as well as a five-strong hand from Mullins, headed by Clondaw Court and Navan Grade Two scorer Union Dues.

Irish champion Flat trainer Aidan O'Brien could have his first runner at the Festival since Istabraq was pulled up in the 2002 Stan James Champion Hurdle. He is responsible for Shield, who finished fourth on his debut at Punchestown on February 20.

The home team is headed by a number of exciting debut winners including Jeremy Scott's Empiracle, recent Wetherby victor Diamond King, and Milo Man, who scored by 25 lengths at Taunton.

Milo Man's trainer Evan Williams said: "We had to enter Milo Man because he obviously won so well at Taunton and has come out of the race incredibly well.

"I'm not going to say he will definitely run because we would want to see some cut in the ground but we are training him for the race and we will have to see what the weather does between now and then.

"He is a horse I have the utmost confidence in and I think he is a very nice horse but whether he is a bumper horse, I don't know. Whatever he does, as long as he is a lucky horse, he could win a very nice race one day."

Salsify captured the 2012 CGA Foxhunter Chase for the Sweeney family and the eight-year-old is among 39 contenders for this year's renewal.

He is likely to renew his rivalry with Tammys Hill, who has beaten him twice in Ireland this season, and last year's runner-up Chapoturgeon, who scored easily on his return at Newbury in January.

Other notable entries include comfortable Haydock victor Cottage Oak and 2009 John Oaksey National Hunt Chase hero Tricky Trickster.


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