Just as Willie Mullins sent out a warning shot to the Champion Hurdle field by saying Hurricane Fly is “still improving” Ladbrokes have made a statement of their own by going moneyback on mobile* on every horse in the race if Hurricane Fly finishes first or second in the race.
With less than a month until the Cheltenham roar will be heard up and down the country Ladbrokes have raised the ante early with one of their boldest offers to date.
Punters wanting to oppose the Fly will now have the added security of knowing that even if the record-breaking 10-year-old does turn-up they won’t be leaving Tuesday’s showpiece empty-handed.
The son of Montjeu recorded his 19th Grade 1 victory in the Irish equivalent of the Festival’s opening day highlight at the end of January and is 3/1 joint-favourite with Nigel Twiston-Davies’ The New One to become the first horse since Hardy Eustace in 2005 to defend his crown.
No-one would think the offer more generous than Mullins, who is clearly in no doubt as to who they all have to beat. The Irish champion trainer told the Racing Post:
“He has had to work hard in a few races this year but I think he’s still improving.
“He just looked so good when he came in from summer’s grass this autumn, and I felt that maybe he’s going to improve, and it really is a pleasant surprise for a horse his age to improve.”
Ruby Walsh’s partner in success has already accounted for two of his main rivals, Dessie Hughes’ Our Conor (5/1) and Jessica Harrington’s Jezki (10/1) in two contests at Leopardstown this year and will arrive at the Festival having not tasted defeat in his last nine outings.
The last time his colours were lowered were in the big race two years ago where he failed to sparkle as Rock On Ruby produced a shock with the Closutton star only back in third.
The race is set to be one of the most exciting renewals in its long and distinguished history with Jonjo O’Neill’s My Tent Or Yours (7/2) advertising his claims by beating The New One in the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.
Hurricane Fly’s stablemate, the unbeaten mare Annie Power (6/1), looks set to take on Big Buck’s in the World Hurdle instead of taking on his housemate despite being quoted and holding entries for both.
What looks for certain is that Ladbrokes will be counting the cost of their promotion well into that Tuesday night.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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