THE eligibility and qualification criteria for the Cheltenham Foxhunter can prove to be something of a minefield that has thrown up some unexpected and unwanted surprises for the connections of many fancied Irish hopes in the past. This year has proven to be no different.

Just under three weeks ago, Shark Hanlon declared his intention to run Mighty Stowaway in the Cheltenham Foxhunter following his third open success of the season at Tinahely, having been bought days earlier by Philip Reynolds.