Big Buck’s is clearly the best staying hurdler in Great Britain and Ireland but injury means the horse will not be running at the Cheltenham Festival in the World Hurdle. The staying hurdlers championship race now has an open look and bookmakers are going 7/1 the field.
Big Buck’s has won the World Hurdle for the past three seasons and was already no better than even money to win the race again at Cheltenham in March. A minor injury has ruled the horse out for the season. The injury is not career threatening and Big Bucks should reappear next season.
By that time there will be a new champion staying hurdler but the identity of that horse is subject to much speculation. The World Hurdle looks like being one of the most competitive championship races at the Festival. There has been a record entry as trainers look to take advantage of Big Buck’s absence.
Many horses have multiple entries at Cheltenham and one of those is Tidal Bay. The 12 year old has recaptured his best form under Paul Nicholls. However, a potential worry is another minor injury which prevents the horse running in his trial race for the Gold Cup this weekend.
Tidal Bay features prominently in the betting for both the World Hurdle and Gold Cup. Given soft ground the horse is more likely to contest the Blue Riband Chase for which he is generally fourth in the betting.
Tidal Bay finished second to Bobs Worth in the Hennessey Gold Cup, giving weight. A true interpretation of the race gives Tidal Bay a great chance to reverse the form. The horse won a key trial in Ireland over Christmas, beating Flemenstar and Sir De Champs and others at level weights.
In the context of the World Hurdle, Tidal Bay is an interesting entry. The decision regards his target will depend on the ground and anything other than soft or worse will see Tidal Bay contest the staying hurdles crown.
In a wide open World Hurdle Rev De Sivola is attracting plenty of interest. The horse showed himself to be true stayer by winning over 3 miles at Ascot in heavy ground before Christmas. Rev De Sivola is definitely an intended runner and other horses shorter in the betting may run in other races.
Oscar Whiskey appears predominantly in the betting but that horse’s target is more likely to be the Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National meeting. There has been an increase in prize money for that race and it is now not too far behind the World Hurdle in terms of potential reward.
Quevega has won the Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival for the last four years. That looks like being the target for the horse again so backing the horse for the World should be done with bookmakers who offer non-runner/no bet.
In view of unconfirmed targets for several horses at Cheltenham Reve De Sivola looks an attractive bet as the horse has no other engagements at the Festival.
Back next Friday.