Ruby heads Sandown Contenders
Rock On Ruby, Grandouet and Darlan are all among 11 entries for the Betfred Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.
Last Updated: 28/01/13 5:44pm
However, the current champion Rock On Ruby is likely to skip the engagement due to the very soft ground.
"We hope to run him before Cheltenham and he holds an entry in the Contenders Hurdle this weekend, but I must stress at this stage he'd be very doubtful to take up that engagement with the ground as it is being heavy, soft in places with more rain to come," said his trainer Harry Fry.
"That would mean we'd go to Wincanton a fortnight on Saturday for the Kingwell and again it would be ground dependant.
"We had to start somewhere, which we did at Cheltenham in the International and the more we look back on that, the more positives we take from it.
"We're very reluctant to run on that sort of ground between now and the big day in March.
"It wouldn't be ideal (if he did not run before the Festival) but I'd far rather go for a racecourse gallop than really test him in heavy ground, but where would we go? All the courses are in a similar position, we'd have to go for a spin on the all-weather somewhere.
"He's in great order, I'm very happy with him and whatever we do will be a stepping stone to March."
Nicky Henderson has used this race in the past for Binocular but this year it is his Christmas Hurdle winner Darlan who has the option.
Henderson has also entered Grandouet who had been due to run in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock and then the rearranged event at Doncaster, but has been thwarted by the weather.
Balder Succes and Celestial Halo have also been entered.
Rebecca Curtis has put in Meganisi and Monte Cavallo, while Marodima is in as well.
Chesil Beach Boy, Kauto Shiny and Vasco D'ycy complete the entries.