Racing: Open Champion attracts 26

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The Independent Online
TUESDAY'S Champion Hurdle could be contested by the event's biggest field. There were 26 acceptors at the five-day stage yesterday, so if there are no withdrawals the runners will outnumber by two the totals of 1964 and 1991, when Morley Street beat 23 opponents.

Followers of Granville Again, 6- 1 co-favourite with Coral along with Flown and Coulton, will not know until Monday whether Peter Scudamore will be on board. With Valfinet also in the race, Scudamore will consider every factor, including blood-test results and going conditions, before deciding.

Although Scudamore is satisfied with the fast ground at Cheltenham, Martin Pipe, trainer of Granville Again and Valfinet, is to inspect the course. 'I'm very worried about the ground,' Pipe said yesterday. 'We won't make up our minds about riding plans or runners until the previous day.'

Muse, the former favourite whose odds have slipped dramatically since his Wincanton defeat, will miss the race unless it rains.

Yesterday's results, page 39