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Champion Hurdle Antepost

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Replies: 290
By:
roobuck
When: 18 Jan 13 18:11
Exactly CVB.

Though I accept your rationale for putting up Grandouet, personally he's not a horse I fancy for this at current prices. He's faced Zarkandar three times and lost each time
By:
chelters16
When: 18 Jan 13 18:33
Nice write up as usual,agree as Grandouet is also the value for me, only the stuff about bino................we will have to agree to disagree on this one,until the Tuesday of the festival that is if it makes it which l doubt.
By:
buddeliea
When: 18 Jan 13 18:34
why you doubt he will make it?
By:
gutfeeling
When: 18 Jan 13 18:45
Nice write up CVB,
Currently on Zarkander/Rock On Ruby as my main bets and wouldn't swap them for anything at this point in time,
Grumeti/Trifolium/Peddlers Cross all for buttons at silly odds for fun.
Good luck.
By:
Can't Catch Me
When: 18 Jan 13 18:46
I watched the race again the other night, and the thing that I noticed... Was that HF was never as far back as I thought he was. In my mind Ai thought Aruba had dropped him well off the pace but he was only ever 6/7l off the leaders. Just didn't pick up at all.

Showed so much class and guts to finish as close as he did IMO.... didnt look a vintage renewal though did it?
By:
Can't Catch Me
When: 18 Jan 13 18:47
New nickname for Ruby.... Aruba Mischief
By:
chelters16
When: 18 Jan 13 18:49
My feelings on bino(admirable animal that he is)have been stated often enough,I expect bino to be out classed in Ireland and as JP will be well represented in the CH dont really see the point as there is little/no chance of AP getting of Darlan to get on YESTERDAYS horse,look at the CH it won,what came out of the race,even Captain Cee Bee beat it at Cheltenham in its novice year............if Im wrong I will be happy to apologise for my negativity towards this quirky animal but this game is subjective and its only my opinion.
By:
buddeliea
When: 18 Jan 13 18:52
no worries chelters all about opinions.
It wont matter if Bino gets beat,even well beat in Ireland,his 2nd race of the season is when hes at his best.
He runs in Ireland he runs at the festival.
By:
duffy
When: 18 Jan 13 20:17
I'd expect bino to be shorter in the betting even now before his first run of the season if the feeling in the yard was that he was still a player.
By:
duffy
When: 18 Jan 13 20:21
How does zark manage to race at the head of the pace when he struggles to go the pace, forget the International, even on that day he didn't travel as well as the other 2 and in the big one they'll be going even quicker, his finishing kick last year looked more impressive because he was closing down the likes of the fly and bino who had attempted to close down before and off the home bend before flattening out, even brampour closed them down and he was at work hard miles before zarkandar was.
By:
alleged22
When: 18 Jan 13 20:47
so the winner will have enough speed to lay up just off the pace, a turn of foot and stamina to get up the hill off the fast pace, ive backed HF so far but may have a saver on ROR
By:
penzance
When: 18 Jan 13 20:56
ROR,underrated winner,always going well last year,
had the others niggling long way out.
Does'nt have to be up with the pace also,
ran some blinders in the pack.
10/1 big price for a horse who would be
around the 5&6/1 mark with Nicholls by
his name on the card.
   GL ALL
By:
CVByrne
When: 18 Jan 13 21:25
Have to agree RoR won last years race very well. Only one still on the bridle coming to the 2nd last.
By:
GoldCupWinner
When: 18 Jan 13 21:38
The run of Overturn is the most puzzling for me. Was well beaten and only finished a neck ahead of Brampour earlier in the season. He also was well beaten th year before. Is it just a case of him improving or just a a bit of a fluke? A good horse yes but not better than Hurricane Fly and Zarkander surely?
By:
roobuck
When: 18 Jan 13 21:42
ROR did win well last year but has had a very different campaign this year. I'd rather wait for his trial and take 6s or 7s after - as people have said he tends to be underrated so he won't go too short. Unlike most, I was concerned by his run in the International for a horse who runs well fresh.
By:
Tory
When: 18 Jan 13 22:24
Goldcup has it spot on for me, which is why I question last year. Said it when I was there 'can understand ROR beating HF but OVERTURN!!!!!!'

Lovely horse but he is not top top notch. Leaves a massive puzzle for me as to how you view last years' renewal as I simply cannot be having overturn as a champion hurdle runner up
By:
CVByrne
When: 18 Jan 13 23:33
I timed 2011 and 2012 races from hurdle to hurdle, and there is not much can be learned from it bar Overturn was a vastly improved horse. Sometimes it just a horses day, Rock on Ruby ran a blinder and looked the winner from a ways out.
By:
CVByrne
When: 18 Jan 13 23:45
Tory it's quiet easy to view, Overturn was a much improved horse, he showed it that season by winning a grade 1 and running with credit in defeat to Grandouet. He kept up a good gallop far longer than he could in 2011. Rock on Ruby is clearly a very good horse, he loved having that nice gallop set for him for so long, he tracked Overturn in his slip stream until RoR was going so well Noel let him take it up.

Hurricane Fly didn't seem to pick up at all like he normally does, in the previous year he was still cantering turning in which is quite a ways later than when Ruby was shaking him up last year. It's reasonable to deduce he wasn't at his best, there is no reason he should be in trouble so far out off a very slightly quicker pace of barely over a second at that stage, yet a full 15 seconds later in 2011 he was still full of running. There could be many reasons for this, lack of proper prep or possible decline from 2011. But I'm of the opinion it wasn't the same horse turning up in 2012 as 2011.

Binocular ran up to his ability, he was maybe a tad too far back, but he still wouldn't have won no matter how AP rerode the race. Zarkandar was given no chance of winning being held up like that, we know he is a stamina horse, he finished like a train and he found tons off the bridle this season in his two wins.

The rest of the field are not reopposing and were just never good enough in any case.
By:
GoldCupWinner
When: 19 Jan 13 00:16
I wasn't too impressed with the Grandeout form. Beating Brampour a neck albeit giving him 4lb is not great form imo. Although having said that I do suppose he can be dangerous when the jockey gets his fractions right, such when beating Binocular at Newcastle.
By:
CVByrne
When: 19 Jan 13 00:25
You mean Overturn yes? to be fair to him he'd been on the go for a long time and he was peetering out by the time he was beaten in International hurdle by Grandouet and then at Kempton in Christmas Hurdle. He was given a break and was fresh in Champion Hurdle.
By:
The Sawyer
When: 19 Jan 13 09:06
CVB

One of the problems comparing different years hurdle races is that the ground is unlikely to be identical and the hurdles are not sited in exactly the same place.

What I have done is hurdle sectionals of the CH and the Supreme and charted where the winners were at each hurdle: I ignore the run to the first which in the 2m hurdle races is pretty close to the start.

Jumping two out last year, ROR was around 18 lengths in front of C&A and at the line he was around 11 lengths in front. That suggests to me that it was not slowly run as I have seen quoted as if it were you would have expected a champion hurdler to at least match a novice over the last couple of flights to the line.

In the previous years comparison, HF was around 13 lengths behind AF at half way but made up most of that ground by the time they jumped the last (I have HF about a length down jumping the last). I then make AF 2 lengths quicker from the last to the finishing line but when you are dealing with fractions of a second clicking the stopwatch on the finishing line is not an exact science!!

FWIW I think ROR's win is very solid form and at the current prices he is easily the value. If HF was out of sorts last year and can make up the difference he would be a danger, but the prices on offer still point to ROR as the value.
By:
CVByrne
When: 19 Jan 13 10:27
Yes Sawyer but last years Supreme was a very slow run affair, as it's been widely said. The 2011 Supreme was a superb renewal, Al Ferof, Spirit Son, Sprinter Sacre, Cue Card all quality animals. Given Al Ferof is a strong stayer it's no surprise to see his supreme win run at a fast gallop from start to finish.

Anyway, I was just inferring that Overturn was vastly improved from 2011 to 2012. While RoR was a very good winner last year.
By:
wellchief
When: 19 Jan 13 10:37
Can't really argue with anything you've said in the original post CV.

I'm a big Hurricane Fly fan, and still think there is some value in his price.  I'm a big Grandouet fan, and have a saver on Zarkandar and peanuts on Cotton Mill at a huge price.

I vastly underrated Rock on Ruby going into last years festival.  Largely because he'd gone down the handicap route early in the season, and despite winning it well, I couldn''t have a horse that had won a handicap and then lost a Christmas Hurdle as a Champion Hurdle winner.  Got that wrong, and he was very very impressive.

However, I for some reason I can't see him replicating that again.  There is no logical reason why he can't, its just a gut feeling that I've got.  His Champion Hurdle win was by a long long way, the best performance of his career, but in every other race, he's never even got within touching distance of that performance.  He may do again, but I think that was a huge career best, and will probably be a career peak.
By:
cyclops
When: 19 Jan 13 18:07
To digress a bit, the current weather raises the prospect of some interesting clashes pre-Cheltenham. Unless there is an extended period of no racing, there are likely to be horses having to meet who would normally be avoiding each other. In particular, Henderson may have to run more than one contender in certain races. If this does happen, then there is the prospect of a real shake up in what has been a fairly moribund market to date. While most trainers say they're happy these days to go straight to Cheltenham without a prep, very few Champion Hurdles have been won by horses on the back of a long absence.
By:
booster
When: 21 Jan 13 09:17
Rock On Ruby really does look a very solid each way bet @ 10s. All his form is top class and he beat Raya Star 10 lengths giving him 13lbs at Newbury first time up in November 2011. If he goes to the Festival fresh that will be no problem as he did so last year but the key is probably decent ground. After the Irish Champion Hurdle on Sunday there should be a very good opportunity to lay Hurricane Fly at too short a price as he ought to be impressive given the likely field.
By:
robbo69
When: 21 Jan 13 12:25
Watched the replay of last years race back several times over the weekend, finally deciced that ROR is the real deal, never been a fan of the horse before but the more i watched the more impressed i was.

Still cant have binocular though Should be at least a 25s chance, wont beat the fly in Ireland on sunday (nothing does) so dont see that it will shortern in the market, JP's gamble this year will be on Darlan....
By:
wellchief
When: 21 Jan 13 17:49
I think you have to be careful when using Overturn to judge the quality of the 2011 and 2012 renewals.

In 2011, Overturn was a 40/1 outsider and was only really there to pacemake for Peddlers Cross.  Even after a furlong Overturn and Bygones of Brid were about 6 lengths in front of the field, and Overturn was getting small urgings from Graham Lee to maintain the gap, keep the pace up and to make it a stamina test that would aid Peddlers stamina.

Completely different in 2012, because although he front run, he was allowed to go at his own pace from the start and only held about a length lead from the rest of the field.  He was ridden to maximize his potential and finish the race as high up as possible.

So although Overturn did improve massively, the way he was ridden, and the tactics of the stable in the two different runnings had a massive impact on where he finished imo.
By:
CVByrne
When: 21 Jan 13 22:56
robbo, every horse looks the real deal the day they win the Champion Hurdle. Rewatch Binoculars win in 2010 and then look at him being thumped 3 times the next season. Look at Hurricane Flys win and he was beat next season. Every horse can run a blinder on any particular day. What you need to work out is if that horse will repeat it and if that will be good enough.
By:
CVByrne
When: 21 Jan 13 23:10
I was just thinking today, there is so much analysis that can be done in this race and there's cases to be made etc.. pros and cons.

But when it comes down to it, my views are pretty simple.

11111311111113111 that is a better strike rate than even Istabraq and Fly has faced and defeated better horses than that great did.

I just think Hurricane Fly is a fcking superstar of a horse, I don't think he was at his best in those 2 defeats, as I don't believe Muirhead and Overturn are superior horses to him and both beat him those days.

I think he looks back to his best this season. Ruby always thought Kauto was a superstar, he's been staunch in his belief Hurricane Fly is one. The former was only accepted as such when he regained his crown at Cheltenham. So I suppose Fly will have to do that before he gets the acclaim he deserves too.

For me the way Ruby celebrated as Fly jumped the last at Leopardstown, a long way from the line shows me all I need to know about what Ruby thinks. He is back.

Fly just has that unique combination of speed, slick hurdling, courage and stamina. He's unique. He's a superstar and he's going to win.

I can go round and round with reasons and all that. But it's really just that simple for me.
By:
cyclops
When: 21 Jan 13 23:22
CV, eloquently put and a valid point that, though some look down their nose at his thrashings of Solwhit, Thousand Stars, etc, those horses are a league above anything Istabraq ever beat. Don't disagree with any of that, except theres the nagging suspicion that travelling to Cheltenham may not bring out the best in him. I'd love him to win pulling a cart and think he's good enough to do a Sea Pigeon in that respect; in fact, I reckon he's the best I've seen since that legend.
By:
CVByrne
When: 21 Jan 13 23:31
It's just pretty simple in my view, he got beat by Overturn last year and I believe Hurricane Fly is a better horse than Overturn so he can run a better race than he did that time. Same as when he was defeated by Solwhit and Muirhead on his other defeat. I thought Solwhit beating him, yeah that's fine he was a dual grade 1 winner but Muirhead. Can't have Muirhead a better horse.

They ain't machines, Kauto in 2008 never traveled in the race and never jumped. Neptune Collonges almost beat him. I though, that's not his best form Neptune is half a stone worse horse imv. Yet people were drawing definitive conclusions from that race.

You can't get definitive conclusions from one race. What was great about Kauto was he gave it his all when it just wasn't his day, Fly did the same last year. It's that kind of attitude and class, that gets you close even when it's not your day. That's what Champions are made of.

Hurricane Fly is a true class act. He's gonna win, I'll be there and it'll be great scenes like it was two years ago.
By:
SEATHESTARS....NO1
When: 21 Jan 13 23:43
I like your bullishness CV, but unlike in the supreme, we don't agree here. Although i think the fly can run a very very big race and possibly can win it, i do think there is probably more chance of him actually finishing 2nd or 3rd this year.

Behind ZARKANDAR Tongue Out

whom has become my jackpot horse for the race Wink
By:
nostaw_01
When: 21 Jan 13 23:47
Very good point CV. I think that HF only having one prep run last year played a part in his performance, so I would expect him to put up a better performance this year. Whether that will be good enough to win is another matter though. Personally I hope he does win, only the 2nd horse to ever regain a CH.....that type of history or horse doesn't come round very often so I would love to be there if it happens.

At the current odds, I think the value is with Zarkander. Think last year was one year too early for him, and thought he put up a really good performance finishing fast in last years race.
By:
cause and effect
When: 21 Jan 13 23:51
CV, I do agree with your POV but there's one angle I've been mulling over: Hurricane Fly has only beaten stayers rather then top class two milers. Do you disagree with that assumption? Beating Crackaway Jack, Oscar Whisky and Peddlers Cross isn't that great form as all have proven themselves to be stamina laden types rather then pure two milers. The unfortunate Go Native was in process of giving the Fly a race before falling and it's safe to say he is definitely a top class two miler and the first real test he faced.

Of course we don't really know whether Grandouet, Zarkandar (compares more to the likes of Peddlers and Oscar Whisky) and Rock on Ruby are indeed high class two milers but there has to be doubt in your mind that says Hurricane Fly faces the toughest task of his career here as he'll be facing Grandouet and Rock on Ruby who much prefer the minimum trip for sure then further?
By:
CVByrne
When: 22 Jan 13 00:08
Fly obliterated Go Native, twice over hurdles and that horse went on to be Fav for the Champion Hurdle he got injured in. Fly also beat Binocular out of sight too. He's beaten plenty of proper 2 milers. 

But as I said there's loads of little nit picking and angles etc people can take, knock a bit of form here, and there. But why is it Fly is coming back to try regain it, why not Binocular or another winner before him. Why has Fly been around near non stop winning for years, like Kauto was.

The true class acts like Kauto and Fly have careers and have consistent win records. But most importantly when they were defeated they never looked like they were at their best. Can you tell me a time Kauto jumped and traveled like he normally did and go beaten? Gold Cup 2011 is the only time in his career.

Same with Fly, why was he being niggled a full 20 seconds earlier in 2012 than he was in 2011. If he was at his best he most certainly wouldn't be in trouble 20 seconds earlier for a barely 2 second quicker gallop.

I can only say what I think and that is Fly can run a better race than he did last year, as Kauto could in 2009 from the race he ran in 2008.

Just think about this, what if Fly is as good as ever, he had a bad day like he had when he lost to Solwhit and Muirhead. Now think what odds he'd be right now had he won last year. 1/2 maybe? If so that's giving you odds of 2/1 that he had an off day last year.

So you just gotta think, is he a superstar who had a bad day? If yes, then 7/2 is a gift. If no then go find something to beat him.
By:
cause and effect
When: 22 Jan 13 00:13
Great points. I'm just looking from an ante-post perspective. Kicking myself for not taking the 11/2 a couple of months ago! I'll take a look again for sure as only done a small Zark/Bobs Worth EW double but not convinced about Zark's pace. the ground shouldn't be too quick so that is one positive. But I do want HF onside before the Irish Champion. Just got to figure out how! Double with SDC or SC maybe. cheers!
By:
CVByrne
When: 22 Jan 13 00:29
I'm sure Fly will be 7/2 at least on the morning of the race. Bookies have gone really big prices in recent years on the day or races. I'd hold off backing Fly till day of the race.
By:
SEATHESTARS....NO1
When: 22 Jan 13 00:35
Like i said above i am with the fly at 11/2, i am with a couple others too but my jackpot is ZARKANDAR this year. When he won the betfair hdl last season i thought maybe he wouldn't be good enough for a champ hdl, ever. till i read the news that when he got back to Ditcheat, he was a sick horse.

A sick horse winning a race like that in the manner he didConfused After that he became a 5% return in my bet book for last seasons champ hdl and the rest is history. I think a year older, has met Grandouet 3 times, and beaten him each time always looking the 2nd best in the race but always just doing enough. That tells me he has all the attributes of a champ hdl winner, stamina in abundance and the ability to lay off them and battle when it matters! If there is not to be a repeat winner of this great race then imho we are left with only one.

ZARKANDAR

The stories people tell about how he has not the pace to lay up with them early in a typical champ hdl etc are full hardy imo also. As like i said above, this horse is just the type to only just do what is required of him in a race. You will never see him win a race hard on the steel. And i do believe, this could well be his year!
By:
SEATHESTARS....NO1
When: 22 Jan 13 00:36
Ok sorry maybe a little strong to say

we are left with only one.


I take that bit back before i get slated and abused haha Laugh
By:
cause and effect
When: 22 Jan 13 00:45
STS, thought the same. Perhaps Zark backers are right but it's not really fact though. It's just PN's word for it that he was sick in the same way we're taking Ruby's word about HF on trust. Maybe overthinking it here! I do have previous for tying myself into intricate knots!

CVB, I'd be surprised if he's 7/2 on the day as I would think bookies will shorten him to 2/1-5/2 range on the back of an IRish Champion Hurdle win. 7/2 is not a great price ante-post if no NRNB hence the double. Need to sleep on this a bit more. Got until the weekend then decision time!


GL!
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