Epatante headlines Christmas Hurdle field

Epatante will face four rivals as she bids to join an elite band of dual Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle winners at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Nicky Henderson’s brilliant mare took this prize in 2019 on her way to landing the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

The six-year-old made a successful reappearance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last month and now goes for back-to-back victories – a feat achieved by such stars as Binocular and Faugheen.

Among the opposition are Evan Williams’ Silver Streak and the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Ballyandy, who filled the places in this race 12 months ago.

Henderson has also declared Newbury winner Floressa, while Paul Nicholls’ Diego Du Charmil completes the quintet. Goshen and Sceau Royal were the two withdrawals at the final declaration stage.

Grade One-winning hurdler If The Cap Fits is among a field of seven declared for the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase.

The Harry Fry-trained eight-year-old won his first race over fences but was beaten at odds-on by Pym on his only other subsequent start.

The Big Breakaway also has to bounce back from a surprise reverse at Exeter, although that was over an inadequate trip. Colin Tizzard’s charge will be more at home on his return to three miles, having impressed on his chasing debut at Chepstow.

The Dan Skelton-trained Shan Blue has looked a bright prospect with two wins at Wetherby.

Nicholls, who trained the mighty Kauto Star, relies on Enrilo to give him a fifth victory in the three-mile contest. Golan Fortune, Kalooki and One For The Team are the other contenders.

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