Stellar Entry List Received For Champion Hurdle

Rock On Ruby heads a list of 34 entries received for the Champion Hurdle, which takes place on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival and Harry Fry's raider will be looking to become the first horse since Hardy Eustace to retain the coveted crown on March 12.

However, there will be some stellar rivals taking him on and the last four winners of the race in Punjabi, Binocular and Hurricane Fly have all been entered to try and regain the title with Nicky Henderson in particular having a strong battalion set to strut their stuff round Prestbury Park.

As well as the classy duo of Punjabi and Binocular, the Seven Barrows handler will also saddle the joint market leader Darlan, who will be looking to build on his fine victory in the Christmas Hurdle and go one better than his second placed finish in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

Grandouet missed the Champion last year, but showed when winning the 2011 International Hurdle that he can land a blow in the highest sphere and he could well be another Henderson raider making the trip to the Festival, in an extremely tough team.

Willie Mullins's Hurricane Fly has been faultless in Ireland this season with wins in the Morgiana Hurdle and the Istabraq Hurdle and he will be aiming for another win in the Irish Champion before heading across the Irish Sea for another tilt at the crown he won in 2011.

Countrywide Flame was stunning when lowering the colours of Supreme winner Cinders And Ashes in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and that duo will clash, whilst the likes of Zarkandar and Grumeti could add yet more depth to what will be a vintage renewal in just under two months time.

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