Champion Hurdle favourite Constitution Hill could face a maximum of eight rivals in Saturday’s Grade Two Coral Hurdle at Ascot, while Arkle star Edwardstone has been handed a handicap entry, all live on Sky Sports Racing.
Nicky Henderson’s star, winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in remarkable style this year, is set to begin his journey back to the Cheltenham Festival in March with a seasonal reappearance on Saturday.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports Racing, Henderson said: “It’s a sensible place to go. We’ve discussed it with Michael [Buckley, owner]. Ascot is a lovely track for him.
“It’s two-miles-and-three [furlongs] but I can’t believe that’s going to be an issue.
“It also means Epatante can go back to the Fighting Fifth, which she has won for the last two years.”
The potential opponents include Olly Murphy’s Brewin’upastorm, a former winner of the Grade Two National Spirit Hurdle, and Gary Moore’s Goshen.
Henderson has three in the race in total as he includes Constitution Hill’s stablemates Call Me Lord and Theatre Glory.
Irish trainer Willie Mullins has entered Saint Sam, whose campaign over fences last year did not go to plan, while Sam Thomas is represented by Good Risk At All.
For Pleasure (Alex Hales) and Uhtred (Dan Skelton) complete the line-up.
Star chasers L’Homme Presse & Edwardstone set to light up Ascot
The Grade Two Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase has also attracted nine entries, with Venetia Williams’ Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase winner L’Homme Presse the star attraction.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls could run Old Roan runner-up Hitman and has also added Pic D’Orhy and Saint Calvados to the field.
Jeremy Scott’s Dashel Drasher – third in the race last year – is entered again, alongside the Henderson-trained Caribean Boy.
Arkle winner Edwardstone is a surprise confirmation for the Jim Barry Wines Hurst Park Handicap Chase after being withdrawn from Sunday’s Shloer Chase at Cheltenham due to ground conditions.
A total of 13 horses have stood their ground for the class two contest, including Harry Fry’s Boothill and Nicholl’s Thyme White.