The New One worthy of early interest for 2014 Champion Hurdle
Hurricane Fly may have overcome some long-term records to win the Champion Hurdle in 2013 and he will need to do more of the same to retain his title in 2014.
Prior to this year, no horse since Comedy Of Errors in 1975 had won back the Champion Hurdle crown having previously lost it and next time it will be an statistic relating to his age that needs breaking.
Sea Pigeon in 1980 was the last 10-year-old to triumph and this is the age that Hurricane Fly will be in 2014.
Still, the two-time winner is priced at 5/1 to complete his hat-trick.
Three novices come next in the betting at 8/1, with Champagne Fever likely to be of leading interest.
However, not since Bula in 1971 has a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner stepped into the senior 2m ranks and won the Champion Hurdle in the following season and there is a strong possibility that Champagne Fever will go chasing rather than spend another year over hurdles.
Therefore, My Tent Or Yours at 8/1 would be the better ante-post bet given that he is more likely to stay over hurdles.
Furthermore, he has been compared to the ill-fated Darlan this season and Darlan was second in the Supreme last year before looking primed to go off favourite for the Champion, until his fatal fall at Doncaster.
But of the 8/1 trio, The New One could be where the smartest money goes, given the strong guide that the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle has been of late.
Hardy Eustace and Istabraq both won the Champion Hurdle 12 months after landing the Neptune, Rock On Ruby was second in the Neptune in 2011 before his following Champion Hurdle win and Simonsig would have been hard to beat this year if not sent chasing.
The New One does have a turn of speed and a victory over 2m4f in the Neptune indicates that stamina should be no issue.
Also in the early betting are Rock On Ruby at 10/1 and Grandouet at 14/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.