Willie Mullins-trained Cilaos Emery supplemented for Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle field at penultimate declaration stage at a cost of £22,500
- Trainer Willie Mullins opted to add the eight-year-old to the field on Wednesday
- Connections paid £22,500 to add the gelding to the Champion Hurdle line-up
- Cilaos Emery landed with easy win in Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran last month
Cilaos Emery was the only horse supplemented at the penultimate confirmation stage for the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday with connections paying £22,500 to add the gelding to the line-up.
Trainer Willie Mullins opted to add the eight-year-old to the field after Cilaos Emery landed with an easy victory in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran last month.
It was his first run over hurdles for more than two years, after being campaigned over fences.
Cilaos Emery was supplemented at penultimate confirmation stage for the Champion Hurdle
Mullins, who also has Sharjah among the 19 horses in contention for the Festival’s first-day showpiece, said: ‘The thinking was he has as good a chance of being placed in the Champion Hurdle than he has of being placed in the Champion Chase.
‘We said let’s see what he could do in the Red Mills race and he did it. He wasn’t spectacular but I loved what he did from the third last after making a complete mess of it.
‘He put the race to bed in a few strides. That was good enough for me.’
Ante-post favourite Epatante remains on course for the race. Trainer Nicky Henderson revealed a minor coughing scare with the Christmas Hurdle winner, but was confident she would make the race.
The JP McManus-owned mare is among five probables for the Seven Barrows trainer, who is seeking an eighth win in the two-mile championship.
His other hopefuls are last year’s Triumph Hurdle victor Pentland Hills, Call Me Lord, Fusil Raffles and Verdana Blue.
Trainer Willie Mullins opted to add the eight-year-old to the Cheltenham field on Wednesday
Henry de Bromhead has left in Irish Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle, though she has been earmarked for the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle on the same card instead.
Darver Star and Petit Mouchoir, who were second and third respectively to Honeysuckle at Leopardstown, stand their ground.
Evan Williams’ Silver Streak is set to try again after finishing third at odds of 80-1 last year, while Micky Hammond’s surprise Fighting Fifth Hurdle victor Cornerstone Lad is another in the mix.
Completing the list are Ballyandy, Coeur Sublime, Darasso, Gumball, Le Patriote, Not So Sleepy and Supasundae.