McManus quartet among Greatwood 20

Ante-post favourite Winter Escape is one of 20 possible runners in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday.

Winter Escape: Head the market for the Greatwood Hurdle.

The five-year-old won each of his three starts last season for trainer Alan King and owner JP McManus and is likely to be a warm order if making his return to action at Prestbury Park this weekend.

McManus could also call upon Nicky Henderson's top-weight Hargam, his stablemate Consul De Thaix and the Paul Nicholls-trained Modus.

Trainer Dan Skelton also has a strong hand, with Ch'Tibello, North Hill Harvey and Meet The Legend all left in at the confirmation stage.

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Other contenders include Henderson's Brain Power, the Philip Hobbs-trained Sternrubin and Ben Pauling's pair of A Hare Breath and Leoncavallo.

The only Irish-trained entrant is Denis Hogan's Jack The Wire, who finished down the field in a handicap hurdle at Down Royal on Saturday.

Hogan said: "I shouldn't have run him the other day. The ground was too fast. When it wasn't happening for him three out, I looked after him and he's come out of it in good nick.

"It's obviously not ideal and they'd have to have plenty of rain in Cheltenham for him to travel.

"They are talking about getting 20mm, though, so we'll see. If the ground was right, he'd have an each-way chance off a light weight."

Jack The Wire can be backed at 28/1 in Sky Bet's updated ante-post market on the race, while Winter Escape is now just a 7/2 chance at the head of the market.

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