Cheltenham Festival 2011 

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By Dylan Jenear ValueChecker

Stan James Champion Hurdle – Khyber Kim

Khyber Kim is something of a forgotten horse in the context of the Stan James Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on March 15 – the gelding can be backed at 25-1 with a number of firms – but his trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, feels that his charge is being underestimated.

Khyber Kim

Khyber Kim

While speaking on At The Races, the Gloucestershire handler, said: ‘Quite a lot of the others seem to be shooting themselves in the foot. His [Khyber Kim’s] form with Celestial Halo is pretty good, he murdered him at Liverpool last season and he must have a very good chance. He has been totally overlooked, which I don’t mind at all, but you wait and see him on the day and he will be in good form.’

Khyber Kim has run just once this season, finishing 13 lengths fourth to current champion hurdler, and generally favourite for this year’s renewal, Binocular in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton in January. However, not only is entitled to come on considerably for that run, it should also be factored into calculations that two miles around that Sunbury venue did not represent a sufficient stamina test for the nine-year-old.

The son of Mujahid loves Cheltenham – he landed the Greatwood Hurdle and the International at Prestbury Park last term before chasing home Binocular in the 2010 Champion Hurdle. Furthermore, Khyber Kim crowned his excellent 2009/10 campaign by routing his rivals in the Aintree Hurdle. As such, punters seeking a value each-way alternative to the front four in the betting could do a lot worse.

Celestial Halo is a top-priced 28-1 with Victor Chandler for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Festival on March 17. Paul Nicholls’ charge just failed to see of Mille Chief in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on his penultimate start and recently made little mistake in going one better in the National Spirit at Fontwell.


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