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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Henderson sending key Cheltenham hopes to Musselburgh on Sunday

Claimantakinforgan (Nico de Boinville, right): Nicky Henderson's Supreme Novices' Hurdle fancy heads a three-pronged Seven Barrows raid on Musselburgh on Sunday
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Nicky Henderson heads to Musselburgh on Sunday with three of his key hopes for the Cheltenham Festival novice hurdles, entries for which were revealed on Thursday.

Henderson is a big fan of the Scottish track's trials meeting and intends running JCB Triumph Hurdle co-second favourite We Have A Dream in the trial for that race, which the stable won for a second time in 2015 with Hargam.

Also set to feature on Sunday's card is Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle fancy Claimantakinforgan in the trial for his race, which Henderson won last year with Lough Derg Spirit, and one of his main Albert Bartlett contenders, Mr Whipped, in the three-mile trial, which he took two years ago with O O Seven.

Henderson, whose Apple's Shakira heads the Triumph betting, confirmed: "We've got three going up there. They're good races for good prize-money, and they will be run on good ground."

He added: "I'm keen to get We Have A Dream on some nice ground rather than wait for the Victor Ludorum at Haydock, where it will be bottomless. Claimantakinforgan will go there too, and also Mr Whipped, who along with Santini would be my most interesting ones for the Albert Bartlett."

Ante-post favourite Getabird, a Punchestown Grade 2 winner, heads 73 entries for the Supreme Novices', in which he will be bidding to continue a fantastic run in the race for trainer Willie Mullins and owner Rich Ricci, who have captured three of the last five runnings.

Supreme Novices' favourite Getabird clears the last on his way to Grade 2 success at Punchestown
Mullins has 16 Supreme entries, while his great rival Gordon Elliott has five, including Samcro, who was well backed on Thursday, and Mengli Khan. Betfair Hurdle favourite Lalor is also entered and would be a poignant first festival runner for Richard Woollacott's widow Kayley.

Samcro is a hot favourite for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, for which 98 entries have been received. This is the target for Henderson's course-and-distance winner On The Blind Side, a Grade 2 winner for a second time at Sandown last time and second favourite. He is unlikely to run again in the interim, but the trainer reported him "in great form".

There are 83 entered for the Albert Bartlett, but only 47 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, several of whom have entries elsewhere. Among them is the Henderson-trained and JP McManus-owned ante-post favourite Apple's Shakira, whom the trainer has pointed out is also in the Supreme and is likely to be entered for the mares' novice, although the Triumph would be his personal choice.


Cheltenham novice hurdle entries

Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle entries

Ballymore Novices' Hurdle entries

JCB Triumph Hurdle entries

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle entries

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We've got three of them going up there. They are good races for good prize-money, and they will be run on good ground
E.W. Terms
Sky bet