No surprises following latest Festival withdrawals
Wednesday 15 February 2017
There were no major surprises following the scratchings deadline for the championship races at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Colin Tizzard-trained quartet of Thistlecrack, Native River, Cue Card and Theatre Guide are among 29 horses to stand their ground in the Timico Gold Cup, but the Dorset handler has removed Alary following his heavy fall at Exeter last weekend.
The now-retired 2016 Gold Cup hero Don Cossack, Silviniaco Conti and the ill-fated Many Clouds have also been taken out.
Eight horses have been scratched from the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, including Gary Moore's Ar Mad, dual Festival hero Champagne Fever and Irish Gold Cup winner Sizing John.
Douvan and Altior star among 20 horses still in contention, although Altior remains highly likely to stick to novice company in the Arkle Trophy.
Champagne Fever was also one of 14 horses taken out of the the Ryanair Chase.Bristol De Mai and Cue Card have also had the option taken away, meaning the Gold Cup remains their only Festival target, but Sizing John is still on the list.
The Willie Mullins-trained pair of Annie Power and Faugheen have, as anticipated, been removed from the Stan James Champion Hurdle due to injury. Vroum Vroum Mag is now the only Rich Ricci-owned contender among 19 possible runners.
Annie Power and Faugheen are also out of the Sun Bet Stayers' Hurdle, for which 36 remain, and Annie Power is not among the 39 possibles for the OLBG Mares' Hurdle.