Huge entry list for Festival handicaps

An unprecedented 1034 entries have been revealed for the 10 handicap events at the Cheltenham Festival.

An unprecedented 1034 entries have been revealed for the 10 handicap events at the Cheltenham Festival.

The William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase has attracted 104 entries, including 19 possibles trained by Martin Pipe.

Therealbandit, Jaaci and It Takes Time could represent Pipe, while the 16 Irish-trained possibles include Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup winner Sir Oj, dual totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup third Harbour Pilot and the Tony Martin-trained Dun Doire.

Last year’s winner Spot Thedifference is among 44 entries for the Sporting Index Handicap Chase, which was added to the Festival line-up in 2005.

The Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap – another new addition last year – has attracted 90 four-year-olds.

The Coral Cup has the biggest entry of any of the handicaps with a record 151 horses going forward, including last year’s winner Idole First.

Juveigneur is also bidding for back-to-back Festival victories as he one of 124 entries in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase.

Foreman, Turpin Green, Star De Mohaison and Wild Passion are just a few of the classy 90-strong entries for the second renewal of the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase, while the Racing Post Plate – formerly the Mildmay of Flete Handicap Chase – has attracted 109 possible runners for the first renewal under its new sponsorship.

The Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) has a record 79 entries, while the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase has 84 entered, including six trained by Nicky Henderson – whose father is remembered in the race title.

The 2006 Festival is set to end on a competitive note on March 17 with the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle, which has reeled in 131 horses at this stage.

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