Big Buck’s and Grands Crus remain on course for a mouthwatering clash in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle after their names appeared among 34 remaining entries following the latest forfeit stage.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck’s is unbeaten in his last 10 starts, taking in two World Hurdle titles along the way, and is a hot favourite to become the first horse in history to win three in a row.
David Pipe’s Grands Crus is the young pretender to his throne, having annihilated the field in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on his latest appearance.
Willie Mullins has a strong hand with the likes of Mourad, Mikael D’Haguenet, Quevega and Fiveforthree still in the reckoning.
Other interesting possibles include the Nicky Henderson trio of Oscar Whisky, Punchestowns and Zaynar – although all have alternative options.
Solwhit could line up for Charles Byrnes and has been taken out of the Champion Hurdle.
There were no major surprises among the 12 scratchings, with Arcalis, Shinrock Paddy and Walkon among those to have been withdrawn.