Of all the novice hurdle events that take place at the Cheltenham Festival, no race looks as competitive as the Neptune Investment Management Hurdle.
26 possible runners remain in the race at the six-day entry stage and that includes all of the fancied runners and anyone looking to place Cheltenham 2011 bets has plenty of choice.
Leading trainer Nicky Henderson has two of the entries and both look to be strong contenders to land the prize. Bobs Worth has been a revelation since switching to hurdles, he won well on his debut at Kempton, but has really improved on that run with back-to-back wins at Cheltenham. His proven ability to act on the track at Cheltenham is an obvious bonus and the stiff uphill finish will hold no fears to him.
Henderson’s other entry is Minella Class, he looked top-class when he won a Grade one hurdle at Sandown in January, but has since been turned over at Huntingdon and needs to bounce back from that run. Anyone looking at the Cheltenham racing betting may not want to commit to the horse given his poor last outing.
Paul Nicholls also holds a strong entry for the race with Al Ferof, Rock On Ruby and Indian Daudaie all possibles for the Ditcheat trainer. Few trainers have a better Cheltenham record than Nicholls and any runner he declares needs to be considered.
There is also, unsurprisingly a very strong entry from Ireland. Oscars Well has already scored in Grade one company and he will attract plenty of support should he line-up as expected. Willie Mullins has four runners still entered and these include the potential star Zaidpour however, it should be noted that he is also still entered in the Supreme Novice Hurdle and at this stage the race over two-miles would appear to be his more likely target.