State Man to face Irish Point in Cheltenham day one showpiece

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State Man to face Irish Point in Cheltenham day one showpiece

The declarations for day one of the Cheltenham Festival are in, with State Man accompanied by seven contenders as he pursues the coveted Champion Hurdle crown.

Who’s in the Champion Hurdle?

There was no late surprise among the final list of eight runners for Tuesday’s Unibet Champion Hurdle, with trainer Willie Mullins opting not to reroute Lossiemouth to meet red-hot favourite State Man.

In the disappointing absence of Nicky Henderson’s reigning champion Constitution Hill, last year’s runner-up will be odds-on to provide the Festival’s most successful trainer with a fifth victory in day one’s showpiece event.

State Man will still be joined by a fellow Mullins runner in the Champion Hurdle in the shape of Zarak The Brave, while Gordon Elliott’s Irish Point and Lorna Fowler’s Colonel Mustard also represent Ireland.

The Seven Barrows yard will instead call upon the supplemented Betfair Hurdle victor Iberico Lord and talented mare Luccia, with twelve-year-old Not So Sleepy and Nemean Lion completing the octad.

Who else goes to post on Tuesday?

Lossiemouth is one of four Mullins-trained runners in the Mares’ Hurdle, with Ashroe Diamond, Echoes In Rain and Gala Marceau joining him at the post.

Lossiemouth remains in the Mares' Hurdle, despite a clamour for her to contest the Champion Hurdle

Image: Lossiemouth remains in the Mares’ Hurdle, despite a clamour for her to contest the Champion Hurdle

Harry Fry’s Love Envoi and Marie’s Rock head the betting for the British contingent across the 11-strong field..

The opening Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is a tough one to call, with Mystical Power and Tullyhill joined at the head of the market by Gordon Elliott’s Firefox.

Slade Steel goes to post in the Supreme rather than Wednesday’s Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle, while Jeriko Du Reponet bids to remain undefeated for Nicky Henderson in his toughest challenge to date.

Il Etait Temps and Gaelic Warrior lock horns again after running each other close at Limerick, while fellow Mullins contender Hunters Yarn is also involved in the My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy. Elliott’s Found A Fifty and De Bromhead’s Quilixios are also in contention.

Eldorado Allen (Joe Tizzard) headlines a 23-strong line-up for the Ultima Handicap Chase, while Liari and Ndaawi top the weights for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, which has attracted a maximum field of 22, plus two reserves.

Only seven runners have been declared for the Maureen Mullins National Hunt Chase, with Corbetts Cross and Embassy Gardens – fittingly trained by Emmet and Willie Mullins respectively – disputing favouritism.

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