Cleeve Hurdle 2022 Entries: Champ features among seven entries for Cheltenham Grade 2


Nicky Henderson's Champ - second favourite for the Stayers' Hurdle - is one of seven entries received for the Cleeve Hurdle, which takes place on Cheltenham's Festival Trials Day on Saturday afternoon....

Following his fine win in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, Champ looks like he will remain over hurdles for the rest of the season, as a tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup appears to be off the menu, and all roads are now likely to head to the Stayers' Hurdle on March 17. The former RSA Chase winner not only had the option of the Cleeve Hurdle, but he could've lined up in the Cotswold Chase on the same card, but Henderson's choice to enter him for the Cleeve means that a campaign over hurdles this season awaits.

Slashed into a 4/1 second favourite for the Stayers' Hurdle following a fine win the Long Walk last month, Champ will be a leading contender to land more Graded success this weekend at Cheltenham and heads a field awash with talent, as a superb renewal of the Grade 2 is expected at Prestbury Park on Saturday.

Adding significant depth to the Cleeve is set to be Emma Lavelle's Paisley Park, who has won the last two runnings of this three mile contest, and the 2019 Stayers' Hurdle winner is looking to bounce back to form here. A real class act on his day, Paisley Park could only finish third to Champ in the aforementioned Long Walk, and he's not tasted victory since the 2020 Long Walk at Ascot.

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Paul Nicholls saddled the legendary Big Buck's to victory in this race on two occasions and the Ditcheat handler is set to unleash Mcfabulous, who was last seen finishing second in the Relkeel Hurdle. He will step up from two-and-a-half to three miles for this event, and he is another notable name in the list of seven entries.

Along with Paisley Park there will be another former Stayers' Hurdle hero as Lisnagar Oscar has been entered for the contest. The Rebecca Curtis-trained nine-year-old has not tasted victory since winning the 2020 Stayers, and was pulled up in the Long Walk last time out, so he will have form to find with Champ, who could cement his place as the top British-trained staying hurdler with victory at the weekend.

Dans Le Vent claimed a valuable handicap hurdle at Haydock Park earlier in the season, and the Evan Williams-trained raider is bidding for Graded glory in this contest, while Racing Post Gold Cup hero Coole Cody (also holds Cotswold Chase entry) and Fergal O'Brien's Dandy Mag complete the line-up for what should be an intriguing renewal at Prestbury Park.

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