The Champion Hurdle clearly revolves around last year’s impressive winner Hurricane Fly but he’s a fragile horse and missed the Festival in 2009 and 2010 due to injuries. He finally came good in this year’s Champion Hurdle but this season he has yet to reappear having missed two intended engagements. There has to be a doubt about his participation without which the race is wide open.
I’m going to take a chance with Oscars Well who surely would have won the Neptune (and landed the JPFestival.com NAP) if he hadn’t lost his footing after the last hurdle. So we know he acts around Cheltenham and has good form at Cheltenham at Festival time. This season he’s been slow to come to hand but his effort yesterday when coming third in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle was much more like it.
The general opinion seems to be that he’s more of a stayer over further than 2 miles but horses dropping back in trip to win the Champion Hurdle is not unknown; for example Istabraq and Hardy Eustace both won the Royal and Sun Alliance (now Neptune). Interestingly, Hardy Eustace wasn’t fancied and started at 33/1. You need a stamina in spades to win the Champion and Oscars Well will improve again give a really strong pace and demands of Cheltenham. His trainer Jessica Harrington knows the time of day when it comes to training Cheltenham Festival winners and despite there being lots of options the Champion has always been the aim which she restated after the race yesterday. He’s take in the Irish Champion Hurdle first where I expect him once again to run well and his odds to contract. Take the 25/1 with Ladbrokes which is available on a non-runner = money back basis.
1pt ew Oscars Well in the Champion Hurdle – 25/1 with Ladbrokes NR-NB