Asian Maze and No Refuge head Cleeve Hurdle entries

IRISH mare Asian Maze and Howard Johnson’s No Refuge head the 18 entries for the Byrne Bros Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Tom Mullins' seven-year-old has not been seen since recording impressive wins at both the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals.

No Refuge side-stepped an engagement at Lingfield last weekend and could be joined in the line-up by stable companion Royal Rosa, who has not run since finishing third in the Rendlesham Hurdle at Kempton last February.

Ambobo could come over from France to represent Arnaud Chaille-Chaille and he may be joined by Millenium Royal from Francois Doumen's stable.

Last year's winner Patriarch Express holds an entry along with Cheltenham regulars Mighty Man, Attorney General and Westender.

Long Walk Hurdle winner My Way De Solzen is another possible along with Starzaan, Mistanoora and Brewster, who were all behind the Alan King-trained six-year-old at Newbury.

In-form Paul Nicholls has useful chaser My Will in the race and Jonjo O'Neil has Hasty Prince and Fire Dragon. It Takes Time and Just Beth complete the entries at the five-day stage.

Meanwhile, Celestial Gold heads Martin Pipe's team of five confirmed for the Letheby & Christopher Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The 2004 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup winner has not raced since finishing seventh to Kicking King in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup last March.

Pipe's other possibles are Comply Or Die, Joaaci, Our Vic and Therealbandit.

The latter was second in this race last year when it was known as the Pillar Property Chase and the first and third Grey Abbey and Royal Auclair also figure among the 18 acceptors.

Peter Bowen has booked Tony Dobbin to partner last season's Gold Cup runner-up Take The Stand.

Bowen reports the 10-year-old, second to Therealbandit at Wetherby in the Rowland Meyrick Chase on Boxing Day, in tip-top form ahead of what will be his only outing before attempting to go one better at the Festival in March.

The Haverfordwest trainer is unconcerned by the forecast of near freezing conditions over the next few days mindful of the fact that Take The Stand is at his best on good, fast ground.

Bowen said: "He has had a nice gap since he finished second to Therealbandit at Wetherby and the great thing is he gets into the Cotswold Chase without any penalties and has no weight.

"He's in real good form, he likes the course and it looks like he'll get favourable going. Tony Dobbin has been booked and will ride him whenever available for the remainder of the season."

Philip Hobbs will keep a close eye on the weather before deciding whether to commit Monkerhostin or One Knight.

Hobbs was delighted with Monkerhostin's performance in finishing a close second to Kicking King in the King George VI Chase over three miles at Sandown on Boxing Day.

"At Sandown he got the trip extremely well," Hobbs went on.

"Whether Kicking King ran his race or not, compared with the other horses we were definitely staying on. He got the trip no problem.

"Ideally Monkerhostin wants good ground which he isn't really going to get on Saturday, although he has run plenty of good races on good to soft anyway whereas One Knight will also go on good ground but he's effective on soft."

A surprise absentee was Iris' Gift with connections deciding to bypass Saturday's contest and wait for either the totesport Chase at Lingfield or the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup at Haydock, both on February 18.

Letheby & Christopher Cotswold Chase: Celestial Gold, Comply Or Die, Grey Abbey, Irish Hussar, Jakari, Joaaci, Joes Edge, Keltic Bard, L'Ami, Lord Of Illusion, Monkerhostin, Ollie Magern, One Knight, Our Vic, Royal Auclair, Royal Emperor, Take The Stand, Therealbandit (18).

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