Zarkandar given Newbury date
Nicholls ace given possible February task
Last Updated: January 11, 2012 3:39pm
Paul Nicholls' Champion Hurdle contender Zarkandar is the surprise name among 60 entries for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 11.
Remembered by many as the Tote Gold Trophy, it is one of the most valuable two-mile handicap hurdles run all season.
Nicholls has yet to unleash last year's Triumph Hurdle winner, who followed up at Aintree, but could use the race as a stepping stone to Cheltenham.
The champion trainer also has two other Champion Hurdle contenders in the race, Rock On Ruby and Brampour, while Celestial Halo may also run.
Nicky Henderson can chose from the likes of 2010 Triumph Hurdle winner Soldatino, All The Aces, A Media Luz and Darlan.
Ladbroke Hurdle winner Raya Star is Alan King's main hope with Torphichen also engaged.
There is a strong Irish contingent with Willie Mullins' County Hurdle winner Final Approach and former smart novice Flat Out among his handful of possibles.
Jessica Harrington's Citizenship and Edward O'Grady's Sailors Warn also hold entries.
Last year's winner Recession Proof may make his seasonal debut in the race while Dare Me is an interesting entry for Philip Hobbs.
The likes of Olofi, Ciceron, Marsh Warbler and Get Me Out Of Here look sure to make it an interesting renewal.