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Elgin in late bid for Cheltenham Champion Hurdle glory

By Graham Clark

Elgin has been supplemented for the Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.

Alan King's six-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season, landing a competitive handicap at Ascot, the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton from five starts.

Connections confirmed after his latest triumph that a shot at Champion Hurdle glory was under serious consideration and he was added to the field at a cost of £20,000 at yesterday's confirmation stage.

King said: "I think he deserves to take his chance. He is rated 161 and that is higher than three of the first six last year and you can't run in a handicap now off that mark.

"He goes in any sort of ground. If you take the favourite (Buveur D'Air) out, it is wide open after that.

"He has progressed right the way through.

"He is much more the finished article this year. I would have said he learned a lot from running in the Supreme (Novices' Hurdle) last season.

"He had never been so quick and I think that made a man of him and he did very well through the summer."

Elgin is one of 15 confirmations for the two-mile hurdling showpiece.

Defending champion Buveur D'Air is one of four contenders for Nicky Henderson along with three-time Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours, Charli Parcs and Verdana Blue.

Willie Mullins still has a formidable hand, with 2015 Champion Hurdle hero Faugheen joined by stablemates Melon, Min, Wicklow Brave and Yorkhill.

Belfast Telegraph

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