Crawford's 'Fine' prospect will depend on safe passage
Larne handler Stuart Crawford is keeping his fingers crossed Fine Rightly arrives in good time for tomorrow's Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.
Crawford is planning to make the trip across the Irish Sea today with his 10-year-old, but with Northern Ireland currently affected by the cold snap, Crawford admits travel arrangements have been made a bit more difficult.
"It's going to be a bit touch and go with the weather," he said. "Hopefully we can get away early in the morning. The forecast is for a bit more snow overnight and tomorrow. He's had a couple of good runs so far this year and hopefully he can get a bit of luck and we get there in good time."
Fine Rightly, which placed at Grade One level in 2016, is one of 13 declarations for the extended three-mile-one-furlong heat.
Philip Hobbs' Rock The Kasbah, which sidestepped a Welsh National run, is among the leading contenders along with the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Tintern Theatre.
Tommy Whittle Chase hero Captain Redbeard will be aiming for a big Haydock double for trainer Stuart Coltherd, while James Moffatt's Highland Lodge and Forest Des Aigles, which is seeking a four-timer for Lucinda Russell, are other leading candidates.
Meanwhile, Apple's Jade is the headline name among 33 entries for the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on March 13.
Gordon Elliott's charge won the Grade One last year and has since gone unbeaten in four starts.
Willie Mullins has dominated this race since its inception in 2008, winning six renewals between 2009-'14 with Quevega, as well as scoring with Glens Melody (2015) and Vroum Vroum Mag (2016), and the latter is among his nine entries this time.
Let's Dance, Benie Des Dieux and Augusta Kate also have the option for Mullins, while Fergal O'Brien's Colin's Sister is among the leading contenders following her West Yorkshire Hurdle win earlier in the season.
Apple's Jade has also been entered in the Stayers Hurdle, along with the horse she edged out at Leopardstown over Christmas, the Jessica Harrington-trained Supasundae.
Jedd O'Keeffe's Long Walk Hurdle hero Sam Spinner, the Nicky Henderson-trained runner-up L'Ami Serge and third-placed Unowhatimeanharry (second in the Stayers' last year) are in the mix.
Mullins struck 12 months ago with the ill-fated Nichols Canyon and has entered Champion Hurdle hope Faugheen as well as Let's Dance, Penhill and Bacardys as part of his eight-strong list.
Alan King has given Yanworth an entry - although he has been campaigned over fences so far this term and has multiple Festival options - while The New One could try three miles for Nigel Twiston-Davies, with Lil Rockerfeller (Neil King) and The Worlds End (Tom George) other entries.