County favourite Campeador out for the season
Campeador, one of the least fortunate horses in training, will not run at Cheltenham, according to Frank Berry.
Favourite for the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle at the Festival, JP McManus' grey looked potentially well-handicapped after getting only a 6lb rise from the handicapper after falling when in command at the final hurdle at Fairyhouse in December.
That was exceptionally bad luck for the French-bred, since it was his first run since he fell when challenging at the last in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham last season, but he is not on the Prestbury Park ticket this time.
Berry, McManus' racing manager, said: "He won't be going over and the next time he'll race will likely be in the summer or autumn. He didn't get badly injured at Fairyhouse or anything like that but it was a horrible fall and these things take time to get over. At least he's still in one piece."
Campeador had been 8/1 favourite for the handicap with Bet365, which went non-runner money-back on all Cheltenham races on Wednesday. Heartbreak City, trained by Tony Martin, may usurp him at the top of the betting, though he is far from certain to run in the race.
Berry, father of Flat jockey Fran, added that it was up in the air as to which race Jezki would run in come the Festival. The Champion Hurdle winner of 2014 made a superb return to action in winning at Navan but he could also run in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle.
Movewiththetimes, which could be extremely well-handicapped off a mark of 136, is on course for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury tomorrow week.
McManus' son of Presenting, which was an eye-catching fifth of six behind Moon Racer at Cheltenham's November meeting, subsequently won a novice hurdle at Wincanton. "He's bang on course for Newbury," Berry said.
Movewiththetimes is 25/1 for the Sky Bet Supreme Novice Hurdle with the sponsor, a race he may go for if winning on Saturday week, the same route taken by McManus' Betfair Hurdle winner in 2013, My Tent Or Yours.
Willie Mullins is responsible for 22 of the 83 entries for the Supreme. Ireland's perennial champion trainer has won three of the last four renewals of the traditional Festival curtain-raiser with Champagne Fever, Vautour and Douvan.
This year's Closutton team is headed by Melon, which justified the hype with an impressive hurdling debut at Leopardstown last weekend to move to the head of ante-post lists for the first race of the Festival.
Ante-post favourite Defi Du Seuil is one of 55 entries for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Meanwhile, Henry de Bromhead may have a dark horse for Cheltenham in Monalee, which won smoothly in Clonmel's feature novice hurdle yesterday. The son of Milan cruised to victory under David Mullins, trying three miles for the first time.
"It was a really good performance and a super ride from David. I hoped he might do something like that. It was a competitive race and he did it really nicely," De Bromhead (left) said.
"We think he wants better ground. He ran a savage race in a bumper at the Punchestown festival last year. He's a Milan and is a good moving horse.
"He's entered in the Neptune and the Albert Bartlett, and we'll see nearer the time. The Albert Bartlett would look the obvious race but there are a few things we need to consider like Death Duty! He has a bit of class as well."