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Clondaw Kaempfer cut for Coral Cup glory

Clondaw Kaempfer has been cut to 16/1 (from 20s) with the sponsors for the Coral Cup after the weights were revealed for the handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival.

Donald McCain’s six-year-old has been allotted 10st 10lb in the 2m 5f contest and was last seen in action back in December when finishing a staying on third to Like Minded over 2m 4f at Aintree.

Last year’s winner Mednias will have to defy 11st 12lb if he is to become the first horse to win it twice.

Alan King’s charge shares top weight of 11st 12lb with Irish challenger Dunguib for the feature handicap on day two of the Festival, Wednesday, March 12th.

The opening day Tuesday, March 11th, features two handicaps – the Baylis and Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase and the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Nicky Henderson’s Triolo D’Alene and Houblon Des Obeaux (Venetia Williams), who both still hold entries in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, share top-weight of 11st 12lb in the the former over an extended 3m.

The Tom George trained God’s Own will have to shoulder 12st if he runs in the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase, having been raised 7lbs following an excellent second in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park.

Although he is now rated above the limit of 140 for the 2m 4f event, he is still eligible to run as he was rated 137 at the time of entry. Hunt Ball defied 12st in the race two years ago after also having his rating elevated following the entry stage.

On St Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 13th, Fingal Bay has been allotted top-weight of 11st 12lb in the 3m Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle and the Minehead his handler Philip Hobbs is also responsible for the handicap topper in the 2m 4f Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase with Wishfull Thinking on 11st 12lb.

The card on St Patrick’s Day concludes with the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase over an extended 3m 1f in which Jonjo O’Neill’s Holywell, winner of last year’s Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle, heads the weights on 11st 12lb.

Previous Festival winners Captain Cee Bee (Eddie Harty) and Dunguib (Philip Fenton) plus Diakali (Willie Mullins) share top-weight of 11st 12lb in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle, run over 2m on Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 14th.

On the same day, Virak (Paul Nicholls) tops the weights in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle over an extended 2m 4f, while in the concluding race of the Festival, the extended 2m Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase, the weights are headed by Nicky Henderson’s Kid Cassidy who is more likely to line-up in the Queen Mother Champion Chase earlier in the week.