The latest acceptors are revealed today for the six G1 novice races at The Festival™ presented by Magners, as well as the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle for four-year-olds and G2 National Hunt Chase for amateur riders.
Notebook (Henry de Bromhead IRE), who has not put a foot wrong in four starts over fences this season, headlines 23 horses going forward for the £175,000 G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase (2m, Tuesday, 10 March).
The much-improved chaser is already a dual G1 scorer over fences, most recently defeating Cash Back (Willie Mullins IRE) in a ding-dong finish to the G1 Arkle Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival on 1 February.
The British-trained contenders are led by Esprit du Large (Evan Williams), winner of the G1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown Park in December, and dual chase victor Brewin'upastorm (Olly Murphy).
Champ (Nicky Henderson) and Minella Indo (Henry de Bromhead), the best staying novice hurdlers either side of the Irish Sea last season, are on course for a big clash in the £175,000 G1 RSA Insurance Novices' Chase (3m, Wednesday, 11 March).
The 34 acceptors also feature magnificent 12-year-old Faugheen (Willie Mullins IRE), who has taken his career G1 tally to 11 this season with two further successes at the highest level.
The £150,000 G1 Marsh Novices' Chase (Thursday, 12 March) over the intermediate distance of two and a half miles sees 46 horses going forward. They include the Willie Mullins-trained pair of Allaho and Easy Game.
Itchy Feet, who provided trainer Olly Murphy with a first G1 triumph in the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown Park earlier this month, and decisive G2 Lightning Novices' Chase victor Mister Fisher (Nicky Henderson) remain engaged.
Ante-post favourite Carefully Selected is trainer Willie Mullins' only remaining entry in the £125,000 G2 National Hunt Chase (3m 6f, Tuesday, 10 March). Champagne Classic (Gordon Elliott IRE) and impressive G2 Reynoldstown Novices' Chase scorer Copperhead (Colin Tizzard) are also among the 39 acceptors.
The Festival curtain raiser, the £125,000 G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (2m 87y), is set to be a cracker with the highly regarded Shishkin (Nicky Henderson) and G1 victor Abacadabras (Gordon Elliott IRE) headlining the 51 names going forward.
Other key contenders are the unbeaten Asterion Forlonge (Willie Mullins IRE), who like Shishkin carries the colours of Marie Donnelly, and compatriot Captain Guinness (Henry de Bromhead IRE).
Last year's G1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper hero Envoi Allen, who is unbeaten in seven starts under Rules, is the headline act among 77 acceptors for the £125,000 G1 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (2m 5f).
JP McManus' unbeaten duo Chantry House (Nicky Henderson) and Sporting John (Philip Hobbs) also go forward, along with wide margin Naas scorer The Big Getaway (Willie Mullins IRE).
G1 Challow Novices' Hurdle victor Thyme Hill (Philip Hobbs) is on course to face a strong Irish challenge in the £125,000 G1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle over three miles (Friday, 13 March, 74 confirmations).
The Irish contingent is headed by Latest Exhibition (Paul Nolan IRE), who overcame a deep field to win in G1 company at the Dublin Racing Festival, and the Susannah Ricci-owned Monkfish (Willie Mullins IRE).
Ramses de Teillee (David Pipe), best known as a staying chaser, has been left in after reinventing himself over hurdles this season, landing recognised trials at Doncaster and Haydock Park.
The three big guns, Goshen (Gary Moore), Allmankind (Dan Skelton) and Aspire Tower (Henry de Bromhead IRE), have stood their ground in the £125,000 G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle (2m 1f, Friday, 13 March), for which there are 38 acceptors.
If you need any information about racing at Cheltenham, please contact: Sarah Jane Muirie, Communications Manager - Jockey Club Racecourses South West 01242537683 SarahJane.Muirie@thejockeyclub.co.uk