The initial list of entries for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham have been released and there is a bumper list of 61 names declared for the big race. We know that four time winner Big Buck's will miss the race through injury and that has certainly encouraged a number of trainers to make speculative entries. It will be the first time in a number of years that World Hurdle has become an open race and there are a number of interesting entries currently declared. Chief among them is Quevega who is a four time winner of the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle for trainer Willie Mullins and although she is likely to stay down that route she has been given a World Hurdle entry just in case. Another horse in a similar situation is the highly talented Oscar Whisky who has been entered for the race by trainer Nicky Henderson. Oscar Whisky ran fifth in the World Hurdle last season when appearing to tire up the hill but he is such a high class horse over two-and-a-half miles that he cannot be ignored this season if he takes his chance.
There are a number of question marks surrounding plenty of the main contenders in the betting which does make the ante post World Hurdle market fraught with danger. We have already highlighted the danger in backing the likes of Quevega and Oscar Whisky and Tidal Bay is another one who falls into that category. The Paul Nicholls horse produced a career best recently to win the Lexus Chase over in Ireland which does leave the Gold Cup as a real possibility for the 12-year-old. Connections have said that should the ground come up soft he will take his chance in the Gold Cup while fast ground could see him replace stable mate Big Buck's in the World Hurdle field making him a difficult betting prospect at this stage. One who does look a certain runner at this stage is Reve De Sivola who looked very impressive last time out when winning the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on heavy ground. The Nick Williams horse has returned to his best this season over hurdles after an average career over fences and he looks a solid betting proposition, especially if the ground comes up slow at Cheltenham in March.
Ladbrokes World Hurdle entries:
Aaim To Prosper, American Spin, Any Given Day, Attaglance, Avoca Promise, Back In Focus, Bear's Affair, Bensalem, Bergo, Bog Warrior, Cape Tribulation, Celestial Halo, Champion Court, Cloudy Spirit, Coneygree, Crack Away Jack, Cross Kennon, Duke Of Lucca, Dynaste, Fair Along, Fiveforthree, General Miller, Get Me Out Of Here, Golden Chieftain, Grands Crus, Hollow Tree, Kauto Stone, Kentford Grey Lady, Lovcen, Make Your Mark, Marasonnien, Midnight Game, Minella Class, Monksland, Mossley, Oscar Whisky, Oscara Dara, Peddlers Cross, Prince De Beauchene, Prospect Wells, Quevega, Red Not Blue, Reve De Sivola, Rite Of Passage, Riverside Theatre, Roberto Goldback, Sadler's risk, Smad Place, Snap Tie, So Young, Solix, Solwhit, Thousand Stars, Tidal Bay, Trustan Times, Walkon, Whatuthink, Whispering Gallery, Won In The Dark, Wonderful Charm, Zaidpour.