It may still be early days, with the National Hunt season still to truly begin, but some punters will want to get in early ahead of the Cheltenham Festival to profit from favourable ante-post prices.
One race that is likely to be competitive is the Champion Hurdle, where numerous horses will be expected to lay down a substantial challenge to defending title-holder Hurricane Fly.
Our Conor, My Tent Or Yours and The New One are considered three of his chief rivals, with Ladbrokes offering the best price on each of this trio at this stage of the season.
Our Conor remains unbeaten in each of his four starts over hurdles, with the latest being a 15-length rout in the Triumph Hurdle over a slightly extended 2m1f.
Trainer Dessie Hughes is in no doubt that the Champion Hurdle will be right up the horse’s street, especially as he travels better at a faster pace. Furthermore, he is a particularly quick jumper of a hurdle.
Some slightly bad news is that of the eight Triumph Hurdle winners to attempt to win the Champion Hurdle in the following season, only Katchit has been successful.
This horse has many similarities with Darlan, who almost certainly would have gone off favourite for the 2013 Champion Hurdle, had he not suffered a fatal fall in his preparations for Cheltenham.
In their novice hurdling season, both finished second in the Supreme Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham and followed up with comfortable victories at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
The doubts over My Tent Or Yours is whether he truly has the stomach for a fight up the Cheltenham hill, as he has shown a tendency to come out second best in a battle, going back to his bumper days.
A horse that has a significant turn of foot is certainly worth considering in the Champion Hurdle and the way that The New One bounded clear up the hill to land the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at the last Festival was impressive.
Istabraq and Hardy Eustace are among the horses to have gone on to complete the Champion Hurdle double and the big question for The New One is whether his jumping is of a high enough calibre to truly challenge.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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