A monster 156 entries, headed by recent Cheltenham winner Aigle D’Or, have been received for the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival.
Nicky Henderson’s five-year-old won at Prestbury Park last weekend in impressive fashion and was subsequently promoted to the head of the beating for the two-mile-five-furlong event.
Breedsbreeze would be a popular winner given the exploits of triple Gold Cup winner Best Mate, who carried the same silks of Jim Lewis.
Dusty Sheehy’s Trafford Lad is another leading fancy but he also has the option of the three-mile race, the Albert Bartlett Spa Novices’ Hurdle.
Venalmar just got the better of Trafford Lad last time at Naas and will head to Cheltenham without the aid of another run.
“He won’t run again, hopefully he will go straight there,” said his trainer Mouse Morris.
“He stuck on well last time but just ran around a bit going to the last so I think he had a bit up his sleeve. It was a good run.
“He handles the soft ground but he ran a good race on much quicker ground at Cork so we know he handles that.
“That was over two miles though and we just think that on quicker ground he may be better over further. His form stands up to scrutiny.
“He also has the option of the three-miler but he would only run in that if it was very fast ground – the Ballymore is definitely his target at the moment.”
Lodge Lane, Leg Spinner, Franchoek, Petit Robin and former Ebor winner Mudawin are also entered.