Nicky Henderson insists Unibet Champion Hurdle favourite Epatante is on course for Cheltenham, despite giving her trainer some cause for concern earlier this week.
The master of the powerful Seven Barrows stable was on hand at Newbury on Friday to see Monte Cristo successfully land odds-on favouritism in the three-runner Mansionbet Best Odds Guaranteed Juvenile Hurdle under Daryl Jacob.
Afterwards, Henderson said: “I can tell you Epatante didn’t cough today. That is the official line today.
“We are forced to say these things before somebody gets it out – and then it’s headline news. Unfortunately, we have to say it before it leaks out and it is drifting (in the market). You virtually have to let everyone know before she has even coughed!
“But that’s what they are making you do. She has not coughed this morning and we are all on course.”
Though a general 3-1 shot on Thursday morning before the yard informed the public via Twitter the mare had coughed, some firms pushed her out to 9-2 overnight, but she has again firmed up, with Sky Bet shortest at 3-1.