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First Mohican camp confident of another Cheltenham Festival boost

Alan King remains hopeful that First Mohican can enhance his Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle claims with a bold showing in Saturday's Dovecote Novices' Hurdle at Kempton.

The six-year-old has been the subject of plenty of hype since switching to the National Hunt scene following four wins on the Flat for the late Sir Henry Cecil and a Group 3 third in France under the trainer's wife Julie.

Problems at King's Barbury Castle yard delayed his jumping debut but First Mohican looked every inch a Cheltenham Festival prospect when finally scoring at Doncaster earlier this month.

"He's going to have to improve an awful lot to be a Supreme horse but hopefully he can," commented King. "He had a good blow after that race and mentally should be a lot sharper as well, so we'll go to the Dovecote and see how that goes."

Some sceptics have questioned the way outsider Huff And Puff gave him a decent work-out on the run-in at Town Moor and at one point even threatened to mount a serious challenge for top honours.

However, First Mohican had travelled beautifully throughout that contest for Robert Thornton and always had the upper hand before eventually prevailing by threequarters of a length and King feels it would be wrong to read too much into the narrow winning margin.

"He doesn't do too much when he gets to the front so ideally you'd want to play him a little bit later," added the handler on At The Races. "He actually knuckled down well from the last - they had every chance to come and get him but he wasn't going to let them past."

With Irving, his main market rival for this weekend's event and second favourite for the Supreme, having come with a late surge to land three straight successes over timber, the stage could be set for a thrilling battle in the closing stages between these two useful ex-Flat performers.


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First Mohican camp confident of another Cheltenham Festival boost

Alan King remains hopeful that First Mohican can enhance his Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle claims with a bold showing in Saturday's Dovecote Novices' Hurdle at Kempton.

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