The entries for the novice hurdle races at Cheltenham have been announced and there is a bumper list of names for the Neptune in particular. No less than 118 runners have been entered for the 2m 5f Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle contest and it looks set to be a cracking renewal. When looking through the list of names there is no doubt that the star name at this stage is the unbeaten Fingal Bay who could well take his chance for Philip Hobbs. The horse remains unbeaten and has shown some top class form so this season which means he is the ante-post favourite for the big race at Cheltenham. It's well worth noting that he also holds an entry to the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle over three miles but it is though that the Neptune is the likely route for him this season. Hobbs has been vocal about the potential of Fingal Bay and a win at Cheltenham would only see the hype about him increase as we look ahead to a potential career of fences in the future.
Other notable entries for the Neptune Novices Hurdle include Simonsig who pushed Fingal Bay reasonably close at Ascot this season and he could well rematch with him at Cheltenham. The Henderson horse also holds an entry to the Supreme Novices Hurdle over two miles but once again most believe that the Neptune is his preferred target at this stage. The Irish will have a strong challenge in the race with Willie Mullins giving the likes of Boston Bob and Make Your Mark entries for the race and both are ante-post fancies. The novice hurdle picture is slightly muddied by the fact that many of the main protagonists are yet to be committed to a race at the Festival with the best runners currently split between the two mile and three mile distances. We do know that Fingal Bay is clearly a horse to keep an eye on at Cheltenham this season with the Philip Hobbs horse in line to become one of the stars of the season.