J.P. McManus-owned Apple's Shakira is among top 47 entries for the JCB Triumph Hurdle while Alan King's five entries are headed by Redicean among entries in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
ANTE-post favourite Apple's Shakira (Nicky Henderson) tops 47 entries for the JCB Triumph Hurdle. No filly has won the four-year-old showpiece since French challenger Snow Drop in 2000. Henderson's three possibles also include We Have A Dream, winner of the G1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.
Apple's Shakira's owner J.P. McManus has another strong contender in Espoir D'Allen (Gavin Cromwell IRE) who has won all four of his hurdles starts in Ireland so far this season.
Alan King has an excellent record with juvenile hurdlers and his five entries are headed by Redicean, while wide-margin Fairyhouse winner Stormy Ireland is one of seven engaged for Willie Mullins.
Gigginstown House Stud has a strong hand in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (83 entries) over three miles, with Cracking Smart and recent Thurles Grade 2 winner Dortmund Park (both trained by Gordon Elliott) among its seven entries.
Santini (Nicky Henderson) maintained his unbeaten record in the G2 Ballymore Classic Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day and could step up to three miles for the first time at The Festival.
Poetic Rhythm (Fergal O'Brien), victorious in the G1 Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury, is likely to run, along with recent Doncaster G2 scorer Enniscoffey Oscar (Emma Lavelle).
JCB Triumph Hurdle
Grade 1, Total Prize Fund £125,000. 1.30pm, Cheltenham, Friday, March 16. New Course, two miles and one furlong (2m 179yds). For juvenile four-year-olds only. Weights: 11st each. Allowances: fillies 7lb. Entries closed January 30, entries revealed, February 1 (47 entries), scratchings deadline February 20, six-day confirmation and £6,250 supplementary stage March 10. Final declaration stage 10am, Thursday, March 14th.
HORSE Age Owner Trainer
ACT OF VALOUR 4 McNeill Family Paul Nicholls
APPARITION (IRE) 4 Rugby & Racing Syndicate Joseph O'Brien IRE
APPLE'S SHAKIRA (FR) 4 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
BALLYWOOD (FR) 4 Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Ballywood Alan King
BID ADIEU (IRE) 4 A Brooks Venetia Williams
BIG EGO 4 A Oliver Andrew Oliver IRE
BIRDS OF PREY (IRE) 4 Mrs Kathy Stuart Paul Nicholls
CASA TALL (FR) 4 Racing Ventures, Sharon, Dermot & David Tom George
EOLINE JOLIE (FR) 4 Sullivan Bloodstock Limited Willie Mullins IRE
ESPOIR D'ALLEN (FR) 4 J P McManus Gavin Cromwell IRE
ESPRIT DE SOMOZA (FR) 4 Robert Forster Nick Williams
EUREU DU BOULAY (FR) 4 D W Fox Richard Hobson
FARCLAS (FR) 4 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
GREY WATERS (IRE) 4 Boragh Stud Syndicate Joseph O'Brien IRE
GUMBALL (FR) 4 Terry Warner Philip Hobbs
HARMONISE 4 Ian Poysden Sheena West