There are currently 23 entries for this years Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, with last year’s victor Honeysuckle, the current odds-on favourite to retain her title.
Henry de Bromhead’s mare extended her unbeaten run to 13 by claiming the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse in November.
It’s possible she make go to Leopardstown next month looking for a third successive Irish Champion Hurdle before heading over to Cheltenham. Also in the list of entries are De Bromhead’s Quilixios and Aspire Tower.
Opposition is likely to come from last year’s third, the Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante. She made a good start to this campaign when dead-heating in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and then went on to claim the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. Nicky Henderson has also entered the 2017 and 2018 winner Buveur D’Air.
Sharjah, who was second to Honeysuckle in 2021 and to Epatante in 2020, will challenge again following his fourth consecutive win in the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Trained by Willie Mullins, he joins the teams other entries, Appreciate It, who has been off the track since winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival, with Saint Roi and Echoes In Rain.
Gordon Elliott has four possibles – Abacadabras, Saint Felicien, Teahupoo and Zanahiyr.