Elgin gets Champion call-up
Elgin has been supplemented for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday on the back of his recent Kingwell Hurdle success.
Connections confirmed after his Wincanton win that stumping up the £20,000 fee at Wednesday's confirmation stage was on their minds ahead of the Champion Hurdle and so it proved.
The Alan King-trained six-year-old has enjoyed his best season to date. He's run five times and, prior to his Wincanton Grade Two prize, had already pocketed a competitive handicap at Ascot and the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November.
He'll be back at Prestbury Park on Tuesday in the heat of Grade One championship battle and is trading at 16/1 to win the Champion Hurdle for his Barbury Castle handler.
Elgin was one of 15 confirmations for the two-mile hurdling showpiece and King says he deserves his place.
"I think he deserves to take his chance. He is rated 161 and that is higher than three of the first six last year and you can't run in a handicap now off that mark," he said.
"He goes in any sort of ground. If you take (Buveur D'air) out, it is wide open after that. He has progressed right the way through."
Last year's winner Buveur D'air is 4/6 to retain the Champion Hurdle crown for Nicky Henderson, while Willie Mullins' 2015 winner Faugheen is 6/1 to regain the title on his return to Cheltenham.
"He is much more the finished article this year. I would have said he learned a lot from running in the Supreme (Novices' Hurdle) last season.
"He had never been so quick and I think that made a man of him and he did very well through the summer," he added.
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