Triumph Hurdle favourite Shakira declared for Cheltenham on Saturday
Apple's Shakira, who blew away her opposition on her first start in Britain propelling her to favouritism for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, will bid to enhance her reputation in the Triumph Hurdle Trial.
However, Samcro, the holder of a similarly high – if not higher –reputation will not be running this weekend after failing to appear among the field of six for Sunday's Grade 2 Navan Novice Hurdle.
Apple's Shakira, trained by Nicky Henderson for owner JP McManus, obliterated her opponents at Cheltenham last month, winning by 17 lengths. She is the 4-1 favourite for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and faces just three rivals on Saturday.
Small fields dominate at Cheltenham on Saturday with only two races reaching double figures, and a total of three offering each-way betting 1-2-3.
Fields of four, six and six have also been declared for the weekend's other highlights at Doncaster on Saturday and Navan on Sunday.
The McNeill family have strong contenders in the bet365 Grade 2 December Novices' Chase and the bet365 Grade 2 Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster, with Keeper Hill and Act Of Valour lining up.
At Navan, trainer Gordon Elliott is the dominant force in the Navan Novice Hurdle despite the absence of Samcro. Cracking Smart, Poli Roi and Delta Work means he has half of the field.
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