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Iberico Lord Supplemented for Champion Hurdle on Cheltenham Festival Opening Day

The expectation of more favourable soft ground conditions on Tuesday, as opposed to the original schedule of competing in the County Hurdle on Friday, played a role in the decision to consider him for the race.

Iberico Lord Supplemented for Champion Hurdle on Cheltenham Festival Opening Day
Iberico Lord Supplemented for Champion Hurdle on Cheltenham Festival Opening Day

Iberico Lord has been entered into the Unibet Champion Hurdle for a fee of £18,000 after his stable companion Constitution Hill was removed from the race. The expectation of more favourable soft ground conditions on Tuesday, as opposed to the original schedule of competing in the County Hurdle on Friday, played a role in the decision to consider him for the race. 

Owned by JP McManus, Iberico Lord boasts a track record of 3 wins in 7 hurdle races, with notable victories in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on soft ground in November and the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on heavy ground last month.

Henderson said:

"He is obviously a very progressive young horse that keeps improving having won the Greatwood and Betfair Hurdle. He loves soft ground, which it seems that it might well be on Tuesday, and therefore possibly not too soft on Friday when he was originally intended to run in the County Hurdle.

"With the unfortunate defection of Constitution Hill, the race has a different complexion and so he is due to join Luccia in the line-up."

Iberico Lord opened in the Champion Hurdle betting at 25-1 with bet365 before being shortened to 16-1. The Champion Hurdle field also includes 11 other confirmed entries, such as Irish Point and Lossiemouth, with Lossiemouth also set for the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle on the first day. State Man, who finished second last year, leads the odds after securing four Grade 1 victories since the last race, including a recent win at the Irish Champion Hurdle during the Dublin Racing Festival.

Six horses, namely Fils D'Oudairies, First Street, Gala Marceau, Guard Your Dreams, Under Control, and Zanahiyr, were not confirmed for the Champion Hurdle. The Mares' Hurdle has 13 confirmed entries, with Brighterdaysahead withdrawn; she was previously listed at 8-1 and is now expected to compete in the Ryanair Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

For the My Pension Expert Arkle Novices' Chase, Marine Nationale was among three horses not confirmed due to a suspensory strain, alongside Blood Destiny and Senecia, leaving 15 entries in the race. Ballyburn remains in the running for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, one of the 15 confirmed, including leading contenders like Tullyhill and Mystical Power.

Nick Rockett, with 10-1 odds for the National Hunt Chase, and Minella Cocooner, another of Willie Mullins' entries, were not confirmed for the race, leaving Embassy Gardens and Meetingofthewaters as Mullins' contenders. Meetingofthewaters is also listed for the Ultima Handicap Chase. Broadway Boy and Flooring Porter have been withdrawn from the National Hunt Chase, which now caps at ten runners. Flooring Porter will aim for a third win in the Stayers' Hurdle, after victories in 2021 and 2022 and a fourth-place finish last season.