Captain's Blog - 9th March 2011
Champion Hurdle Pocket Guide
Here is a brief pocket guide to the Champion Hurdle with a quick look at the leading contenders. I have no set view on the race but these thoughts may help you crystalise your thoughts.
1. Binocular - A long way below his best this season. He was unimpressive last time out at Sandown in victory and I am sure he is a horse with physical issues which if ironed out by next week will give him a great chance of repeating last years win but that is a big worry and at this stage 100/30 is not a tempting price.
2. Menorah - In superb form. Likes Cheltenham and will get the fast run race he requires to win the Champion. A leading player whose supreme hurdle win last year was a delight for speed figure gurus. Best priced at 5/1 with William Hill.
3. Hurricane Fly - A smooth travelling horse with a turn of foot who has been a thorn in the side of Solwhit this year. His chances would be enhanced if Ruby Walsh gets the nod to ride. On balance he seems to have a little bit to find. 5/1 is widely available and that looks a couple of points too short.
4. Peddlers Cross - I cannot have him as a Champion Hurdle winner. His career best came at Cheltenham last year over 2m 5f, but even that performance leaves him with a fair bit to find to be a champion. He has a bigger run in him than we have seen so far this year but on balance I think he will be found wanting. 5/1 is way too short for me and I would be thinking of place laying him if that was my game.
5. Oscar Whisky - His seven length win at Cheltenham in January was impressive and the speed figure was good. He backed that up at Ffos Las next time with a fast time cosy success. He is a runner and could easily make the frame or better. I think the 12/1 available with Victor Chandler is much better value than 5/1 about Peddlers Cross.
6. Khyber Kim - Second Last year to Binocular. Has been restricted to one run this year in the Christmas Hurdle where he was below form. He can be forgiven that as he has never liked going right handed. He has had issues since then and he needs to bounce back to his best albeit at his favourite track to play a part. Drying ground suits.
7. Mille Chief - Good luck with this project, he cannot run fast enough I am afraid. His speed figures are good but not good enough and he needs to take a big step forward.
8. Walkon - If he runs he could make the frame at 66/1. He bounced last time and ran a big figure the time before when he won at Ascot. If there was to be a suprise this third run of a lay off merchant could be the one. He could sneak into a place.
Of course there is plenty to discuss as far as this race is concerned and brighter brains than me will give you more cogent and relevant analysis, but in essence Menorah is rock solid, Binocular will win again if he can bounce back to his best and Oscar Whisky is the each way go in the race. He is too big at 12/1. I will be looking to back him each way and Walkon as well in a race where the front of the market could easily dominate but where there is some value outside the front two given that Binocular could easily backfire.
For much better analysis join our experts on next Monday when we will be broadasting a Cheltenham preview show.
Hope all of this is of some use.
See you tomorrow.
7:30 Kempton - Epsom Salts (each way 7/2 Sky Bet )
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