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High Bridge and Jenkins top maximum field of 24 for Betfair Hurdle prize

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High Bridge and Jenkins head a maximum field of 24 runners for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

The Ben Pauling-trained High Bridge won the Gerry Feilden Hurdle over the course and distance on his latest appearance at the start of December and while he shares top-weight of 11st 12lb for one of the season's most fiercely competitive handicaps, amateur rider Alex Ferguson takes a handy 7lb off his back.

Joining High Bridge at the top of the weights is Jenkins, who has appeared a reformed character since being fitted with blinkers, winning his last two races at Kempton and Ascot.

Crack conditional James Bowen takes 3lb off his back, meaning the horse that will actually carry the most weight is Bleu Et Rouge with 11st 10lb. Willie Mullins' charge is the only Irish challenger in the field and is the mount of Barry Geraghty.

Jenkins is one of five runners for Nicky Henderson as he bids for his sixth Betfair Hurdle success.

The other Seven Barrows representatives are Kayf Grace (Nico de Boinville), Lough Derg Spirit (Jeremiah McGrath), Charli Parcs (Ned Curtis) and Verdana Blue (Davy Russell).

Leading contenders also include Peter Atkinson's prolific mare Irish Roe, Kayley Woollacott's Lalor and Amy Murphy's stable star Kalashnikov.

The two reserves are the Kerry Lee-trained Magic Dancer and Maquisard from Gary Moore's yard.