Vaniteux will have to shoulder a minimum of 10st 13lb if he is to justify favouritism in the £100,000 Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday, November 16.
The five-year-old heads the market at 9/2 with Stan James and was last seen out when third to Vautour in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival in March.
His trainer Nicky Henderson has five other contenders, headed by facile Ascot scorer Sign Of A Victory (11st 2lb, 6/1) and JCB Triumph Hurdle runner-up Kentucky Hyden (10st 12lb, 16/1).
2012 Champion Hurdle hero Rock On Ruby (11st 12lb, 16/1) tops the weights for trainer Harry Fry and is set to reappear in the Grade Two Elite Hurdle at Wincanton this weekend.
At the other end of the weights, Tom George is preparing Olofi (10st 1lb) for a tilt at regaining his Greatwood Hurdle crown. The eight-year-old took the spoils by two and a half lengths in 2012 but has not been seen in competitive action since unseating his rider in a novices’ chase at Wetherby in April, 2013.
Local trainer George revealed: “Olofi is likely to start off in the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle. “He had a minor setback this time last year – he has always had a few aches and pains –so we decided to give him plenty of time as he is still a relatively young horse.
“We took him to Bangor recently for one of those racecourse schooling bumpers and that went well. “He has had a good preparation and, although the absence is not ideal, that’s what those schooling races are there for and he is ready to go.
“His work is equally as good and I think he retains all of his ability.”
Olofi is a 33/1 chance with Stan James. The five-day confirmation stage for the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle is on Monday, November 10.