One of the main features of the four day Cheltenham Festival is the World Hurdle and Last year’s first four finishers in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle could all meet again in the 2009 renewal at Cheltenham on Thursday, March 12, after appearing in the 36 entries for this year’s contest, revealed today.
Inglis Drever also successful in 2005 and 2007 completed a unique three-timer in the famous staying contest last year when coming home a length clear of French raider Kasbah Bliss, whose trainer Francois Doumen was successful in the 2002 and 2003 runnings with Baracouda.
The Eoin Griffin-trained Kazal, who finished third last year, and fourth-placed Blazing Bailey could all be bidding to enhance their records in the Grade One event. Kazal is set to run at Gowran Park next week and - if things go to plan - will head straight to the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, according to his trainer.
Kazal is a 40/1 chance with sponsors Ladbrokes for Cheltenham although Inglis Drever, who has just returned to light work and could be retired, is not quoted. Kasbah Bliss is the 3/1 second favourite behind 2/1 market leader Punchestowns, winner of the BGC Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December and part of a six-strong entry from trainer Nicky Henderson.
The master of Seven Barrows, who has won the Ladbrokes World Hurdle twice before (1989 Rustle and 2000 Bacchanal), is also represented by BGC Long Walk Hurdle runner-up Duc De Regniere, Afrad, Afsoun, Aigle D’Or and Blue Shark.
The Henry Daly-trained Mighty Man, the top-rated staying hurdler of the 2006/07 season, is another who could return from a long lay-off having been off the track since April, 2007. Other notable entries include the Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck’s, who made an impressive return to hurdles when scoring at Cheltenham on January 1, his stablemate, the BGC Long Walk Hurdle third Mobaasher, Fair Along, who has been placed in Grade One company at the last three Festivals and has captured two Cheltenham handicap hurdles this season, last season’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner Nenuphar Collonges and Inglis Drever’s Festival-winning stablemates No Refuge and Tidal Bay.