The Champion Hurdle has a special place in my heart as I really enjoyed Persian War in my early years of Horseracing so much this race is always my favourite race of the whole Festival.
This years race is intriguing but in my opinion doesn’t have too much depth as per some years. The bookmakers are their usual Scroogelike individuals with some very short prices most of which surely cannot be any lower on the day!
Faugheen is current favourite trading around evens with best odds 5/4 with Paddy Power. Faugheen is however no certainty to take the crown but has to be respected. A point to note he has only won over this trip twice and not against the top hurdlerrs he meets here. I am not saying he can’t win but I don’t like backing horses stepping back in distance and he did win over 2 miles last time out but not against the class he meets here.
The New One has not put a foot wrong this season but wasn’t at his best last time out struggling to win against not so good opposition. Nigel Twiston Davies I am sure will have him in peak condition on the day and if Sam can hang on to him for a late flourish he should be concerned in the finish. Has improved after finishing third in the race last year.
Jezki is the reigning champion and has brought his best to Cheltenham in the last two seasons. Jessica Harrington will know what she has to do to get Jezki home and hosed. She is a fantastic trainer who has brought Jezki through the season with the aim of retaining the Champion Hurdle. Beware going against him….improves every run …..could he do it again?
Hurricane Fly will have his supporters but I think he has won the races he was aimed at earlier in the season and although I love this horse I cannot have him in my thoughts this year. Could he retire after the race?
My outsiders are Kitten Rock at 40/1 has done everything asked of him and is not fully exposed. He beat Glens Melody last time and that horse hosed up at Warwick yesterday. My other outsider at 50/1 would be Purple Bay for John Ferguson but as a novice I wouldn’t run him against these if I owned him!
So I can’t see much of a surprise here with a 123 of Faugheen, Jezki and The New One but its so easy to put it on paper.
One thing is enjoy the Festival it only happens once a year. Have you ever been there? If you haven’t you MUST experience it as it’s just not the same as from the armchair!
Best of Luck to you all,
The Barking Dog
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