With two months to go until the great roar goes up the three favourites in the Championship races are all trading at prices lass than 2/1 but do they justify the ‘banker’ tag? On the Tuesday in the Champion Hurdle, Binocular is a best priced 5/4 following a scintillating victory at Ascot. I was at the course that day and the general feeling after the race was that the Champion Hurdle was his for the taking. Rewind to last year’s Festival though and we find Binocular’s only defeat where he was outstayed up the hill by my selection Captain Cee Bee. So 5/4 seems short to me particularly with 2 months to go.
On the Wednesday we have Master Minded at a red hot best price 4/7. I’d be calling for a straight jacket if anyone told me they’d back a horse at this price with two months to go. That said he appears to have very little to beat although there is time for dangers to emerge and there must be value elsewhere.
On Friday, we have the Gold Cup and what should be a fantastic rematch between Denman and Kauto Star with Denman a best priced 7/4. The Nicholls camp are confident that heart problems are now behind Denman but given there must be a doubt about this, 7/4 seems very short.
It should also be remembered that last year’s favourite’s in the Championship races were all beaten at short prices, Sizing Europe at 2/1 (finished last), Vor Por Ustedes at 5/2 and Kauto Star at 10/11. An amazing, and frightening stat for favourite backers is that at last year’s Festival 11 horses, including the 3 mentioned, started favourite at less than 3/1. And how many won? Just one – Inglis Drever winning his 3rd World Hurdle at 11/8. Food for thought!