There will be a new name on the Champion Hurdle trophy this year with the absence of recent winners Buveur D'Air and the late Envoi Allen.
Nicky Henderson has won more Champion Hurdles than anyone else and the ante-post favourite Epatante heads a list of five entries from Seven Barrows for this year's renewal.
3⃣6⃣ entries for the @UnibetRacing Champion Hurdle...🏇
Our feature race on Day One of The Festival™ presented by @MagnersUK 🙌#CheltenhamFestival #IllBeThere pic.twitter.com/lfL8js8M5m
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) January 15, 2020
Henderson has seven Champion Hurdle wins to his name, while Epatante's owner J P McManus has won the race a record eight times.
Should Epatante oblige on the second Tuesday in March, she would become the fifth mare to win a Champion Hurdle, after Annie Power (2016), Flakey Dove (1994), Dawn Run (1984) and African Sister (1939).
Last year's Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills is another member of Henderson's team, as is Call Me Lord, Fusil Raffles, Pentland Hills and Verdana Blue, who may run in Saudi Arabia beforehand.
There are 36 horses entered in all, 16 of them based in Ireland. Gordon Elliott has the most entries of anyone with seven as he goes in search of a first Champion Hurdle.
That list of seven includes star novices Envoi Allen and Abacadabras, while Samcro who wasn't run over hurdles this season is also on the list.
Henry DeBromhead has never won the Champion Hurdle, even though Sizing Europe looked like he was going to for a long time in 2008. His unbeaten mare Honeysuckle is favourite for the Mares' hurdle but has also been entered in this race.
Willie Mullins has four entries, Aramon, Klassical Dream, Saldier and Sharjah.
Breakdown of Entries by Trainer
Gordon Elliott IRE - Abacadabras, Apple’s Jade, Coeur Sublime, Envoi Allen, Felix Desjy, Mengli Khan,
Nicky Henderson - Call Me Lord, Epatante, Fusil Raffles, Pentland Hills, Verdana Blue
Willie Mullins IRE - Aramon, Klassical Dream, Saldier, Sharjah
Henry de Bromhead IRE - Honeysuckle, Petit Mouchoir
Jamie Snowden - Pacify, Thebannerkingrebel
Tony Carroll - Nelson River
Gavin Cromwell IRE - Darver Star
Micky Hammond - Cornerstone Lad
Jessica Harrington IRE - Supasundae
Philip Hobbs - Gumball
Alan King - Elgin
Hughie Morrison - Not So Sleepy
Olly Murphy - Thomas Darby
Dr Richard Newland - Le Patriote
Fergal O’Brien - Quick Grabim
Joseph O’Brien IRE - Darasso
Dan Skelton - Mohaayed
Colin Tizzard - Eldorado Allen
Nigel Twiston-Davies - Ballyandy
Evan Williams - Silver Streak
Jane Williams - Monsieur Lecoq