Course specialist The New One heads a 16-strong field for the Grade Three Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, worth £100,000, at Cheltenham on Sunday, where he will be looking to make it seven victories in total at Prestbury Park.
The nine-year-old carries top-weight of 11st 12lb for local trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and champion jockey Richard Johnson takes the mount for the first time since the pair teamed up to win the Grade Two International Hurdle just under a year ago.
The top-weight has been chalked up at 16/1 by the race sponsor, which makes Jenkins, at the other end of the handicap with 10st, the 9/2 favourite following sustained support for Nicky Henderson’s runner earlier this week.
The five-year-old has only had five career starts to date and is the champion trainer’s only runner in a race he has yet to win in its current guise. David Bass, successful twice in three rides on Jenkins, has the mount again.
Dan Skelton, who trained North Hill Harvey to win this race 12 months ago, saddles the 6/1 second-favourite Mohaayed, while the admirable London Prize, who landed last weekend’s Grade Two Unibet Elite Hurdle at Wincanton, is next in the market at 9/1.
Harry Fry, who does so well with his hurdle runners at this meeting, is represented by 10/1 shot Misterton, while Alan King runs recent Listed winner Elgin (12/1), who won well at Ascot two weeks’ ago.
Joseph O’Brien, who recorded his biggest training success to date when Rekindling won the Melbourne Cup earlier this month, is double-handed in Sunday’s showpiece, with the 2016 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov (16/1) lining up alongside stablemate Tigris River (12/1), who won the Galway Hurdle in August.
Brian Ellison’s Nietzche is a 14/1 shot with King’s other runner, William H Bonney, currently the same price. Chesterfield, the mount of seven-pound claimer Daniel Sansom, is a 16/1 chance, as is Flying Tiger, trained by Nick Williams.
Paul Nicholls, who has won this race three times (Rigmarole in 2003, Brampour in 2011 and Old Guard in 2015), trains both 16/1 shot Amour De Nuit and previous winner Old Guard (25/1). John Quinn’s Project Bluebook and the Thomas Mullins-trained Top Othe Ra make up the 16-strong field.
Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle – sponsors bet: 9/2 Jenkins; 6/1 Mohaayed; 9/1 London Prize; 10/1 Misterton; 12/1 Tigris River; 12/1 Elgin; 14/1 Nietzsche; 14/1 William H Bonney; 16/1 The New One; 16/1 Ivanovich Gorbatov; 16/1 Chesterfield; 16/1 Flying Tiger; 16/1 Amour De Nuit; 25/1 Old Guard; 25/1 Project Bluebook; 25/1 Top Othe Ra