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Super six primed for Cheltenham

With entries now complete for the novice and handicap hurdle contests at the Cheltenham Festival, Kayf Tara has six runners heading to Prestbury Park with great chances.

The Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (G1) is the traditional curtain-raiser on the Tuesday of the meeting and Space Mission, who holds a number of entries this weekend at Sandown, Kempton and Newcastle, is set to represent Paul Webber’s stable. A winner on his last start at Huntingdon on 23 January, the six-year-old was a €70,000 foal and is a half-brother to multiple jumps winner Bellator. Space Mission is also entered for the following day’s Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle (G1), in which he could face a talented trio in Carruthers, Venalmar and Sigma Digital. While Carruthers will carry the colours of his popular owner/breeder Lord Oaksey, Venalmar and Sigma Digital will be representing the powerful Irish stables of Mouse Morris and Noel Meade. Both have shown consistent form in their short careers thus far with multiple wins and places apiece. That same day, The Package holds an entry for the Coral Cup but also has a potential engagement in the final race of the Festival, The Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle (G3). Hailing as he does from David Pipe’s stable, it would be no surprise to see The Package line up for the Imperial Cup at Sandown on the Saturday before Cheltenham. The Pipe team has thrice been responsible for claiming the lucrative bonus put up by sponsor Sunderlands for any horse who can win the Imperial Cup and a race at Cheltenham during the Festival. The Package, a five-year-old out of the Ardross mare Ardent Bride, is a Bumper and hurdles winner and ran a good second at Sandown on his most recent outing on 15 February. The Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle over three miles is one of two entries for Cryptic, who has notched three wins for owner Diana Whateley this season. Trained by Philip Hobbs, like his dual-winning paternal half-brother Kornati Kid, Cryptic is also a possible for the Albert Bartlett Spa Novices’ Hurdle (G1) on Gold Cup day, a race for which the aforementioned Carruthers, Venalmar and Sigma Digital are also entered.  Whichever race each individual ends up contesting, the growing army of Kayf Tara fans will have plenty to cheer about come Cheltenham week.