Willie Mullins’ pair of Sir Gerhard and Dysart Dynamo both feature among 17 confirmations for Tuesday’s Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the opening event of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
The most successful Festival trainer in history usually plays his hand late and will not have to make a final decision until Sunday’s 48-hour declaration stage.
Sir Gerhard, winner of the Champion Bumper 12 months ago in front of empty grandstands, has won both his outings over hurdles, including a six-length success at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Dysart Dynamo won the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle last time out, a race with a good track record for unearthing the Supreme winner.
Mullins has also left in Kilcruit, second to Sir Gerhard in the Bumper last year, State Man, El Fabiolo, Bring On The Night, Farout and Grangee.
Nicky Henderson is another with two major contenders left in via Constitution Hill and Jonbon, but he has stated for weeks it is his intention to run both.
Constitution Hill won the Tolworth Hurdle impressively on just his second outing while Jonbon is unbeaten in a point-to-point, a bumper and three runs over hurdles.
He is bidding to emulate his full brother Douvan, who won the race in 2015.
In the Sporting Life Arkle, Gavin Cromwell’s Gabynako was added to the field at a cost of £8,000 meaning 14 go forward.
Placed in two Grade Ones on his last two outings, he already held entries in the Turners and Brown Advisory Novices’ Chases, but Cromwell felt the Arkle looked the least testing of the three races.
Alan King’s Edwardstone heads the market with Mullins’ Blue Lord, Haut En Couleurs and Saint Sam among the leading players.
Gordon Elliott’s five-year-old mare Riviere D’etel is another major contender.
Mullins also holds an incredibly strong hand in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle with Concertista, Stormy Ireland and Burning Victory all among the favourites.
A total of 15 remain in contention, with Henry de Bromhead’s Telmesomethinggirl, Queens Brook, Marie’s Rock and Mrs Milner among the remainder.
All the major contenders stood their ground in the Ukraine Appeal National Hunt Chase with Elliott’s Run Wild Fred and Mullins’ Stattler heading the ante-post lists. Threeunderthrufive retains the option for Paul Nicholls who has also left Frodon in the Ultima Handicap Chase.