Nicky Henderson has trained the last two winners of the Champion Hurdle and the Berkshire-based trainer has five entries for this year’s Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
But the two stand out prospects for Henderson are reining champion Binocular and last Saturday’s Welsh Champion Hurdle winner Oscar Whisky.
Binocular is the ante post favourite in the Champion Hurdle betting at 7/2, but Oscar Whisky has been trimmed into 12/1 from 14/1 to win the Champion Hurdle following his victory at Ffos Las on Saturday.
The 2011 Champion Hurdle is arguably the most eagerly anticipated race of this year’s Cheltenham Festival and in what is sure to be a very competitive renewal, the betting is wide open.
It’s a race that suits the first six in the betting with 18 of the last 20 winners having come from the market leaders, and what a top six the ante post Champion Hurdle betting market can boast.
Binocular, Menorah (4/1), Hurricane Fly (9/2), Peddlers Cross (11/2), Oscar Whisky and Mille Chief (12/1) all have their positives although the stats are against five-year-old Mille Chief as there has only been one five-year-old winner since 1985.
Both Binocular and Oscar Whisky were in action last Saturday and while Oscar Whisky announced himself on the Champion Hurdle stage, Binocular rather laboured to victory at Sandown despite being sent off the 1/10 favourite.
However Binocular has taken the same route to the Cheltenham Festival as he did last year and while there were concerns surrounding the seven-year-old last year, Binocular ran out a 3 1/2 length winner.
It will definitely be the Cheltenham Festival’s opening day highlight and it could potentially become a race that we will talk about for years to come and picking the winner will be just as hard as riding it.
A £25 stake on Menorah winning the Champion Hurdle would return £125. New customers can sign up here for a free Cheltenham Festival bet worth £25.