• Cheltenham Festival

Nine declared for Champion Hurdle

ESPN staff
March 10, 2013
The going is described as soft at Cheltenham © PA Photos

Rock on Ruby will have up to eight rivals when he attempts to defend his Stan James Champion Hurdle crown this week.

Nine horses were declared for the 2013 renewal of the Champion Hurdle, which takes place on Tuesday. Cotton Mill, who will run in the County Hurdle, was the only withdrawal.

Among those competing are previous winners Hurricane Fly and Binocular, as well as Triumph Hurdle winners Zarkandar and Countrywide Flame. Also in the field are Cinders And Ashes, Grandouet, Balder Succes and Khyber Kim.

Rock on Ruby will wear blinkers for Tuesday's big race, with Harry Fry saying on Saturday: "We had our final schooling session yesterday morning with Noel [Fehily] on board and he was awesome. That is due to the fact that he's going to run in first-time blinkers on Tuesday."

The going is described as soft ahead of the opening day, and frost covers have been used to ensure all races go ahead as cold weather sweeps the country on Sunday.

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