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Thursday 16 August 2018

Diamond sparkles for delighted Daryl

Gold Cup hopeful Diamond Harry was "bouncing" when teamed up with his big-race jockey Daryl Jacob yesterday.

The Hennessy Gold Cup winner, trained in Devon by Nick Williams, is going straight to the Festival without another run and the race cannot come soon enough.

Diamond Harry finished 15 lengths in front of Denman at Newbury, but will be nearly two stones worse off at Cheltenham and while Jacob is aware of that, he is also keen not to dismiss the chances of Denman's stablemate Kauto Star. "I sat on him this morning and he's absolutely bouncing, he's in great form," said Jacob.

"Nick was saying he wishes the race was tomorrow, he's that well and that fresh in himself.

"Nick will have him primed for the big day and hopefully he's going there with a real live chance.

"He's got a bit of form to find with Denman with the turn around at the weights, but hopefully he'll be spot on on the day and we can have a shot at it.

"Long Run was very impressive (in the King George) but you can't write off Kauto Star no matter what you read.

"He's had one bad run and while his form at Down Royal maybe wasn't great he probably wasn't tuned up that day.

"After one bad run everyone is trying to write him off but I'd never write him off, that's for sure," he added.

Big Buck's is the standout name among 46 entries for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on March 17.

Paul Nicholls' champion is unbeaten since reverting to hurdles and has barely come off the bridle this season.

He could be joined by stablemates Celestial Halo, a former Champion Hurdle runner-up, and the improving Organisateur.

An interesting entry from the Nicky Henderson yard is Punchestowns, currently campaigning over fences but a former runner-up in the race.

Henderson sprang another surprise by entering Oscar Whisky, an impressive winner over two and a half miles who was thought to be on the Champion Hurdle trail. Zaynar and Spirit River are other Seven Barrows possibles.

Willie Mullins is another trainer with multiple entries which include Mourad --who is entered at Gowran Park tomorrow -- Mikael D'Haguenet, Fiveforthree and Quevega.

Alan King could run Bensalem, Walkon and Karabak while Nigel Twiston-Davies has given Khyber Kim the option and David Pipe's exciting Grand Crus is a possible.

Solwhit could be a fascinating runner for Charles Byrnes and Luska Lad has been entered by John Hanlon while Robin Dickin is planning on running Restless Harry.

Ladbrokes World Hurdle -- sponsors bet: 4/7 Big Buck's, 8/1 Punchestowns, 10/1 Grands Crus, Oscar Whisky, Quevega, 12/1 Mourad, Solwhit, Zaynar, 14/1 Karabak 16/1 Bensalem, Mikael d'Haguenet, 20/1 bar.

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