Montelado leads discharged

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Dates when the leading Champion Hurdle contenders can be discharged from the casualty wards are becoming clearer and it seems that Montelado will be the first one back on track when he runs in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton next week.

Richard Dunwoody, who had been booked to ride Montelado at Fairyhouse this month, when the talented but injury-plagued horse was pulled out because of a cold, will be in the plate.

Pat Flynn, Montelado's trainer, said: "Montelado is fine now and I am looking forward to taking him to Kempton. It could be a hot race but we won't shy away from anything."

The reigning champion, Alderbrook, is on course to make his return in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on 22 February, the race in which he staked his claim for the hurdling crown last season.

"He has been cantering for two and a half weeks," Kim Bailey, his trainer, said. "While it's still early days, he seems fine."

Champion Hurdle (12 March): William Hill: 3-1 Alderbrook, 9-2 Montelado, 7-1 Atours, 10-1 Mysilv, 12-1 Fortune And Fame, 14-1 Balawhar, Moorish, River North, 16-1 others.