Cheltenham Festival

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17 Jan 13 14:51
Date Joined: 14 Mar 06
| Topic/replies: 5,105 | Blogger: CVByrne's blog
Hurricane Fly -
Willie Mullins after Fly won last years Rabbo Bank Champion hurdle at Punchy.

"He wasn't impressive going past the winning post first time and just his class won the race for him..... Maybe next year we'll ride him like a normal horse as he's always been very keen and we've been trying to settle him. He settled at Leopardstown in January but he settled too much at Cheltenham. My job now is to try and get the Champion Hurdle back."

What he was alluding to here was the tactics in the Champion Hurdle were of confidence, they believed Fly's biggest danger would be being too keen and not settling like he was in 2011 and he'd expend too much energy early in the race. They thought that if Ruby could settle him picking up the leaders was a formality.
But Fly settled "too well", by that they mean when Ruby let him an inch of rein in the past the horse was keen he'd go faster when given that bit of rein, but this time he was too settled and Ruby had to get to work on him to actually go. Which he did and he was the fastest home from that point to the line. 

So Fly in all his runs last year has settled very well. The keeness of his 2010/11 campaign is gone, he's grown up. On his first run this season he made the running. Then at Christmas he tracked Thousand Stars closely. I'd expect him to do the same in Irish Champion Hurdle, track Thousand Stars again.

So then at Cheltenham, Ruby will know Zarkandar is going to be ridden up there in the first couple of horses. He is giving the feedback to Nicholls about Zarkandar having ridden him twice this season.

So knowing this, and being the superb jock he is, he'll be sure to have Fly right beside Zark at the start so he can track him for the race, Zark will have to be one of the first to make for home given how well he stays and how much he finds off the bridle. So if Fly isn't keen and using energy at the early part of a race, he can be settled in behind Zark and Ruby can then stay in his slip stream and bring Fly out to challenge as they turn for home.

This tactic I believe is key and there is every reason to believe as Fly settles now Ruby can "ride him like a normal horse" he can ride tactics as he sees fit. Those tactics will be to be ridden up with the pace without any worry that he needs to settle. Then his injection of pace, slick hurdling, courage and stamina should see him home.
Another thing to note is his prep, in 2010/11 season he had 3 prep runs and improved for each run before his best performance coming at the end of the season at Punchestown. Last season he had problems early on missing 3 intended engagements. RPTV Antepost analysis highlighted this, saying he is a horse who improves with each run and this is the reason to oppose him in Champion Hurdle. Sublimity is only winner in recent decade who had only 1 prep run.
So we've this further potential piece of the puzzle, Flys prep this year has been much better than that of last season, no missed races, 3 prep runs with the tactics he will be run with at Cheltenham employed each time, settled in just behind the pace and brought out to challenge coming to the last.
One final nugget, there is no Overturn. A grade 1 winning front runner who was kept company by another in Celestial Halo last year. This helped force a fast pace. It surely helped Fly settle, but if the pace is a little bit slower this year it will play against horses like Rock on ruby and Zarkandar and more in favour of Grandouet and Fly. Its not a huge issue but it's an important one none the less.
Given the odds you can get day of the race at Cheltenham in recent times Fly is not an antepost bet, he will probably be 4/1 or bigger on the day and is as close to a shot to nothing e/w as they come, having only ever been beaten 3 times in his career. But placed on each of those occasions.
Darlan - Came 2nd in a slow run Supreme, then won a comically slow run Christmas Hurdle where the final time was a full 8 seconds slower than River Maigue ran in the novice race earlier on same card. Raya Star in 2nd and 4th Fav for Supreme Dodging Bullets in 3rd even futher holds thjat form down. Darlan will likely have an egg and spoon prep race and go to Cheltenham and be 4/1 with zero form against the 4 main rivals he'll face. Also big scopey horses who can go chasing usually find one or two too quick over hurdles in this race. 5 of last 6 winners of this race were Flat bred. It would be madness to back Darlan at the prices.
Grandouet - Very nice sort, who has run well three times at Cheltenham, 3rd in Triumph, 1st in International and 2nd this season in the same race. There is one key theme here, those 3 runs came on the New Course, which is a much stiffer course than the speedier Old Course he'll run on a Cheltenham. Given he is a speed type he should improve for the change. Combined with the likely slower pace this year he would be the biggest danger to Hurricane Fly. He should be at his physical peak as a 6yo in this race.
Given Haydock may be off he might have to go for the Kingwell and face Zarkandar. He'd likely win that race on a speedy track like that and be cut for the festival. As such he is probably the best antepost play at this stage @ 7/1
Zarkandar - This is a horse who keeps on improving and will be at his career best in the Champion Hurdle, finds buckets off the bridle and though he lacks a change of gear he isn't lacking pace. Was never right last season and was tough for one so young and inexperienced to be thrown into the Champion Hurdle. But this year with a full season under his belt for the first time will have him a live player. It's unknown how much he has left when winning both times this season, could be a Hardy or Big Bucks type who keeps finding. No idea where the bottom of him is yet.
Rock on Ruby - I believe he and Overturn got the hop on everyone last year, riders thought the double figure horses up front would come back to them. They were wrong and both Overturn and RoR were at the front for the whole race. But this year RoR has 2 problems, people will not let him such rope in front again this year. They'll keep closer tabs on him. While there is no Overturn quality front runner for him to track. So if there is a lower quality runner making it that horse will likely fall away much earlier than Overturn meaning RoR would be in front earlier and make his task tougher. There is a price at which Ruby becomes backable but it's the 10/1 mark dotr.
Binocular - Very consistent horse at Kempton and Cheltenham, his record at Kempton being 311 and Cheltenham 2314. All grade 1s. Will likely have a new jock on board in the form of Paul Carberry (or possibly Townend) bot of whom will be excellent fits for him. He will likely not be good enough to win the race, but his consistency gives him stong place claims. so e/w 25/1 and a lay of the win bet back on the day of the race would be a shrewd bet in my opinion. It would be very interesting to see how Carberry would ride him.
Cinders & Ashes - Won a slow run Supreme and that's about the most he's done in his career. Supreme winners have shocking records in the Champion hurdle, usually because the horse who wins it is NH bred, has peaked by then and doesn't have as much improvement to come the following season. But C&A could possibly outrun his price of 18/1 but you'd be going on hope and faith more than anything.
Countrywide Flame - Won the fighting Fifth but beat what exactly? Cinder and Ashes. 5yo have shocking records in this race and Triumph field not doing much this season.
Suggested bets
Grandouet 7/1
Binocular e/w 25/1 - lay back win stake day of the race
Hurricane Fly - best morning price.
Pause Switch to Standard View Champion Hurdle Antepost
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Report barnesy January 25, 2013 1:57 AM GMT
Good work Seathestars, I think he has a great chance if the ground is fast enough. On a serious note, I totally agree with your approach. In a lot of the top races there are often a handful of horses who are very close in ability to each other and it is just about which horse gets the breaks on the day. It makes sense to cover all options rather than go with one and somewhat leave things to chance, especially in a race like the Betfair Hurdle.

On the subject of this race I think the winner very likely comes from the first two in the International. I respect Hurricane Fly but feel he is not at his best at Cheltenham and is now 9 so winning this would be a big ask. Rock On Ruby's win in this last year indicates he is a player but in accordance with my earlier point, things just do not go his way often enough and that is the only top class race win he has on his CV. Darlan is remarkably short on what he has achieved so far, and given how he lost his place at a crucial time in the Supreme I am still not convinced he is suited to Cheltenham (Kempton where his flagship form comes from couldn't be more different).

The improvement a hurdler shows from the age 5 to 6 is proven time and time again. I think in Grandouet's case missing last year could of been a blessing in disguise giving him a chance to strengthen, he looked a short runner to me as a 4yo over 2 miles and to my eye he looks a lot more resolute now. I'm just hoping the ground blunting his speed was the reason he didn't get past Zarkandar in the International. You would hope he would come on from that. I respect Zarkandar for the same reasons, you would think at 5 he was probably just not ready to show his best in the Champion Hurdle.
Report duffy January 25, 2013 2:46 AM GMT
As far as an outsider bet goes have to agree with cotton mill being the best one now, purely on the staunch belief that o'regan says he had plenty left, at the time I think it's fair to say that most of us thought that simonsig would have been an easy winner and again many of us thought that simonsig would certainly be at least one of the favs for this years CH if they went that way with him, DOR was just so adamant that he would have given him a race...on that basis 25'S is probably too big
Report booster January 25, 2013 7:47 AM GMT
Surely there have to be significant doubts about Cotton Mill (you'd expect that at 25-1) but why did they go 3 miles at Liverpool if he's a Champion Hurdle horse? Also, if he's that good, he'll probably win the Betfair but also have a hard enough race 4 or 5 weeks before the big one like Zarkandar did last season and he didn't appear to have recovered. Too many questions for me even at the price.
Report robbo69 January 25, 2013 8:36 AM GMT
Zarkandar was from a yard that the horses were ill last year. That is no argument as he still ran a pretty good race. Your other point is far more valid, not many champion hurdlers run over 3 miles before they win the race though some might of after.
Report duffy January 25, 2013 2:36 PM GMT
Yeh, the zark ill thing I'd take with a pinch of salt with regards to the real effect it had on him tbh, not sure how many ill horses would be capable of winning one of the most competitive hurdles of the year, and I doubt he's that good, plus the way he came home in the CH itself is a little deceiving, he barely closed down ROR and hf bino were flattening out after having gone after the front two when zark was left wondering where they all had gone too, brampour was at it after about the 3rd hurdle and even he was closing down hf and bino after being at it for practically the whole race, zark didn't really put enough distance between himself and brampour off the home bend for me.zark will get outpaced and the thoughts that people are suggesting that zark will be raced closer to the pace as if he'll be capable of it as simple as that does not take into account the fact that he gets outpaced and looks like he won't be capable of such a feat.

yes, he'll be stronger this year but by being stronger does that mean he will be able to alter such a fundamental aspect of his run style or does it really mean that he will enhance his style of running that he already displays, namely being a strong stayer.
Report Ballydoyle January 25, 2013 5:40 PM GMT
Will be 4th or 5th...not quick enough for a Champion Hurdle unless it's a bog
Report barnesy January 25, 2013 6:45 PM GMT
Duffy, horses don't get outpaced at the beginning of a Champion Hurdle. They get outpaced when the leaders decide to increase the pace and go for home (Fehily and Maguire seemingly picked an opportune moment to do so in last years race). Zarkandar was delberately dropped out off the pace in both the Betfair Hurdle which he managed to win and the Champion Hurdle. Now they properly understand the horses strengths and assets they have made a conscious effort to be bang with the pace in both his races this season. He will probably lose some ground when the pace increases on the turn for home. The question is how much and if he is capable of clawing it back because it is hard to imagine there will be many running to the line from the last quicker than him.
Report duffy January 25, 2013 10:43 PM GMT
He made the running last time but it wasn't anything like the pace of a CH,even so, ruby was travelling just the worse of the 3 through the race, ROR looked to just about breeze by him turning in before blowing up quite clearly I thought, fitness got him home that day, in a faster run race I wouldn't be expecting him to be able to hold his position near the head of a CH field.Again, I find it quite a big leap of faith that plenty are thinking, "hang on a minute, if he's ridden closer to the pace he won't have so much ground to make up" as if it's as simple as that, it'll have to be that way for him to win a CH though because horses do not come from too far back to win champion hurdles , that's for sure.
Report roobuck January 25, 2013 11:02 PM GMT
The pace of the International was slow and would therefore make him more vulnerable to a 'fast' horse - neither of the supposed faster horses could go by could they?
Report alleged22 January 25, 2013 11:27 PM GMT
id agree with above comment

grandouet is a strange one to me he has quality and is clearly a good horse, but lacks battling abilty imo its as if he,s being bullied if that makes sense????
Report duffy January 25, 2013 11:38 PM GMT
He shot up the hill pretty well in the international in 2011 though, he would have been entitled to need the run after a year off.I'm probably being unfair on Zark but the other 2 travelled more comfortably through the race but at the end when fitness matters most, a race fit horse in receipt of weight got home better on the day.
Report barnesy January 26, 2013 12:12 AM GMT
Just to be clear Duffy, do you genuinely believe he won't be able to lay up with the early pace in a Champion Hurdle?
Report duffy January 26, 2013 12:40 AM GMT
I don't think he could maintain a prominent position at the front of the field throughout the race from start to finish, and if he is being asked to somehow compete from the front , then he'll be gone sooner rather than later, I genuinely believe that.
Report duffy January 26, 2013 1:51 AM GMT
He got outpaced when it all kicked off before the home bend last year, but that's not all there is to it, because there was a period before that when the pace he was already being asked to race at was hurting him, from the 5th hurdle, way before the real kick came , jacob was niggling away at him to maintain his position which he did, but it was taking an extra effort from him that the others weren't suffering from, so yes he may be able to race in an advanced position for a period of time, but he wouldn't be able to comfortably be able to do it and the time would arrive where he would lose ground, I actually think that by trying to force the horse his demise would come earlier.
Report barnesy January 26, 2013 6:56 AM GMT
That's just the horse, Duffy. As you say he was first off bridle in International too.
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 27, 2013 2:58 PM GMT
HURRICANE FLY rather impressive thereConfused But, beat the same horses as usual and Binocular who always needs his first start of any season!
He will be spot on for this champion hurdle now though, how much binocular will improve for the run who knows but seems impossible to me he is going to ever be better than the fly again.
Jury is out, but still feel ZARKANDER is the one to be with.
Report Brooksielad January 27, 2013 3:00 PM GMT
the fly will regain his crown :)
Report splinterboy82 January 27, 2013 3:01 PM GMT
I'll wait until the day, but if THAT Fly turns up....simple...he'll win
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 27, 2013 4:24 PM GMT
The fly has never been away imo, he ran to his ability last year. Just wasnt good enough on the day and i have not changed my mind in that i would not be surprised should he win this in March but also wont be if he finishes 2nd or 3rd. However i would be surprised if he finished worse than 4th or 5th.
Report robbo69 January 27, 2013 4:52 PM GMT
One thing is for sure Binocular has no chance in CH
1)he can't beat the fly!!
2)might have been a 'tender ride' but re watch the race Mccoy looked down at least twice early on. Id be very suprised if with Mr Hendersons other options in this race if he even runs.
3)he just isn't anywhere near good enough!!!!!
Report buddeliea January 27, 2013 5:01 PM GMT
Be a totally different Bino come March.Different conditions etc etc
Take no notice of that today as re his chances in March.
He may not be good enough,he is 20 odd to win!! But he will be a lot better in his next race.
Report Graeme83 January 27, 2013 5:07 PM GMT
Nicholls was hitting out with the excuses because Harry Fry got his to win a CH, and Nicholls was left to exclaim that it was a team effort. He wasn't his usual breathless and over excited self after 'winning' a big race. The ammount of people who fail to mention that Zarkandar missed out the last hurdle last year is something worth criticising in itself. It's a big ask, especially as he had to fight against Grandouet, who had a year out and was giving him 4 pounds on ground that was unfit for human presumption.
Report Ballydoyle January 27, 2013 7:03 PM GMT
Blowin bubbles if you think Binocular can win another Champion Hurdle
Report booster January 27, 2013 8:36 PM GMT
Can't see what the excitement is all about. Beats a County Hurdle winner again  on  heavy  ground and trainer says more or less the same as last season then shortens for the Champion Hurdle. How many others in betting would be so short after victory in such an uncompetitive affair certainly not deserving of its title.
Report Graeme83 January 27, 2013 8:45 PM GMT
It's why we have Betfair. The bookies have went too short on HF, so i guess if people think he's too short, then they can lay him. He didn't beat anything. Skybet went from 4/1 to 5/2...absolute crooks. His run today changes absolutely nothing, and his winning CH time time was something like 3 seconds inferior than last years renewal.
Report Brooksielad January 27, 2013 8:58 PM GMT
Not a bad time clocked in them conditions. I think he's better than ever this year. Despite what he's beating he could of gone out all to the line and clocked under 4 mins in ground like that. People keep banging the drum about oh he's beating nothing. He's beat thousand stars that has ran oscar whisky to a head over 2 and a half which apparently a horse unbeatable over that trip. The 2nd fav beat Raya Star 4 lengths. I'd back Thousand Stars any day over Raya.
Report booster January 27, 2013 9:16 PM GMT
I'd also agree that Darlan is a terrible price.
Report Fallen Angel January 27, 2013 9:33 PM GMT
Looks less likely that we are going to see the usual good to soft going at the festival that we see most years and I feel that favours HF as much as any other runners. I can't agree with these beat nothing comments, they are running for £58k if there was a horse out there that would be able to hang with HF it would be running in the race. On this performances this year he is certainly the one to beat again. He won 5L could have been 15L, not much more he can do. Think the time is just fine considering the conditions and how heavily he was eased over the last 50 yards.
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 27, 2013 9:56 PM GMT
It will be the usual good/soft if not proper good safe jumping ground come March 12th, mark my words on that one! There is still 7-8 weeks to go yet! Am fairly confident. All we need is a couple of weeks of dry weather to completely dry out a track like Cheltenham, in fact with it's drainage i would even say half that time!
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 27, 2013 9:58 PM GMT
We have the same debate this time every year, the new years day meeting and Jan meetings are always run on soft boggy ground with people saying it might be soft etc etc. Why should it change now? In 2010 we had a frightfully amount of snow then too, but the festival still started on genuine good/soft noConfused
Report Howdi January 27, 2013 10:06 PM GMT
^^^^ This year has been an exception I wouldn't think its that clear cut this year.
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 27, 2013 10:46 PM GMT
We'll see.
Report blarney January 27, 2013 11:26 PM GMT
Agree with the comments saying that Hurricane Fly only has to turn up in the same form he showed today to win the big one in March.

It is very difficult to pick a negative with this horse considering his engine, turn of foot and hurdling. Jockey and trainer are also positives.

People will look to last years Champion Hurdle but that was a very strange race and Rock On Ruby produced an incredible run in the conditions. Im not sure he can replicate that effort and I don't think the other contenders have the ability to take a race by the scruff of the neck like that. I know Mullins said that HFly was under performing last year but I think a reproduction of his run in last years Champion might be enough to win this years race.
Report frankalsoran60 January 28, 2013 1:21 AM GMT
The name of the last horse to regain the Cheltenham title was Comedy Of Errors (1973-75.) It might take such a comedy to deny Hurricane Fly a similar achievement.Happy
Report buddeliea January 28, 2013 7:53 AM GMT
The difference this time is the water levels are so high,so any rain just keeps topping them up.
Thats not been the case so much other years.Because of that its not just a case of comparing years.
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 28, 2013 8:25 AM GMT
I really do not understand why use are basing all that on water tables tbh. Water tables are used to measure the amount of rainfall in a particular area, i.e "We had 3 mils of rainfall in the Cheltenham area over night" might be used as a synopsis, to base this on a mass of land as big as Cheltenham is ridiculous. I have done meteorological courses during my days sailing tall ships, but it isn't as straight forward or as clear cut as all that. If we only had average rainfall between now and the festival but drying winds and temperatures in between we will have the normal good/soft ground! Cheltenham drains so well it only takes a couple of days of breezy but dry conditions to dry it out.
Report booster January 28, 2013 8:28 AM GMT
As regards laying the horse, there's no need to yet as, just like last year, he'll only shorten in the run up to the race once the preview nights etc get into full swing. The form book says he beat Thousand Stars 10 lengths last year but only 5 this year and comments in running/visual impression are almost identical. This is not to knock the horse, who is clearly very good under the right conditions, merely to illustrate the poor price and the bookies' over reaction every time he runs. His price yesterday tells you everything you need to know about the quality of opposition he was facing and Binocular was clearly having a school.
Report festivalfanatic January 28, 2013 8:55 AM GMT
By: This user is online. SEATHESTARS....NO1
Date Joined: 04 Oct 09 Add contact | Send message When: 28 Jan 13 08:25 Joined: Date Joined: 04 Oct 09 | Topic/replies: 2,293 | Blogger: SEATHESTARS....NO1's blog
I really do not understand why use are basing all that on water tables tbh. Water tables are used to measure the amount of rainfall in a particular area, i.e "We had 3 mils of rainfall in the Cheltenham area over night" might be used as a synopsis, to base this on a mass of land as big as Cheltenham is ridiculous. I have done meteorological courses during my days sailing tall ships, but it isn't as straight forward or as clear cut as all that. If we only had average rainfall between now and the festival but drying winds and temperatures in between we will have the normal good/soft ground! Cheltenham drains so well it only takes a couple of days of breezy but dry conditions to dry it out.

Don't think this is right STS. 'Water table' relates to how far you need to dig into the ground before you strike water and a measure of how saturated ground actually is. If it can't soak away, it runs off the surface. Cheltenham does drain remarkably well but it will need several weeks of relatively dry/warm/windy weather to get anywhere near 'good'. This could happen of course but with what rain is due here over the next couple of days, the starting status 6 weeks before the meeting will probably be 'heavy/waterlogged'.
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 28, 2013 9:01 AM GMT
Agree completely with you there booster, although i feel that this years race we are going to see the best chance of a horse regaining the champion hdl crown since comedy of errors in the 70s, i still can't get out of my head he still has it to do on the day, it is not going to be easy. This years race looks one of the strongest in years! If, like me, you got 11/2 or better fair play but i would not be playing at todays prices even on the day of the race and he be a 'lay' (i.e i would back a couple against it) on the day if i didn't already have an 11/2 voucher.

ZARKANDAR is and remains imo the best chance of winning it this year. A horse that never looks like he is 'enjoying' his racing he always just puts in just enough. These types are never impressive. Those who say he does not possess the speed required may well be right, but can you honestly believe that this years race will be run in the exact same way? I certainly do not think so, not with the fly et all in it again.

The jury is still out for me as regards RoR, i may well have done my doe in this one but backed him after fto out this season when behind ZARK, some people thought he was desperately in need of the run and he simply just blue up, i am more skeptical, i took 10s sceptically in the thinking those people could well be right but looking through his past form he is a horse that has been right in each of his seasonal debuts before and we have not seen or heard of him since that dayConfused

ZARKANDAR has met GRANDOUET 3 times and 3 times he has beaten him. I no its not as clear cut as all that but i am willing to take the chance that it is. At Aintree when he tipped up he did look to be going much the better than zark that day, but we do not know what he may have found or whether he would have been able to go past either. Also i would say Aintree would be more up grandouets street than zarkandars and cheltenham be more up zarkandars street than grandouet.
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 28, 2013 9:07 AM GMT
So any moisture under the surface cannot drain away now, because it is under the surfaceConfused is that what your trying to say ff?
Report festivalfanatic January 28, 2013 9:11 AM GMT
Yes it can drain away but it will need an unseasonally dry and warm few weeks for it to happen, not a few days.
Report Fallen Angel January 28, 2013 9:12 AM GMT
I would generally agree with comments around HF price, personally i thought the performances this year have been impressive but the value was at 6/1, 11/2 etc. Purely from a book % the market is very tight now and he can't feasibly shorten up much more. On the timeform review from yesterday the betfair ireland spokesman thought bookmakers would end up a 7/2 the field on the day which I could feasibly see if there was a shock in the supreme. With the risk of a non-runner between now and whenever people go non-runner no bet and without another run this must be as short as HF can be for the moment.
Report booster January 28, 2013 9:16 AM GMT
I'm also a bit worried about Rock On Ruby. He was my biggest bet of the festival last year and will probably be my biggest winner this if he wins as I've got 6 points on him from an ante post double @ 9s but hasn't looked like the same horse since he won last year's race. He has, howver, run badly twice at Aintree and came back from that the first time and I was told he wasn't 100% for the Bula and, if that was the case, he'd have been found out by the ground that day. I think we need to see him again before the race to be convinced he can still do it but, all in all, he's one of about 5 I'd give a similar chance to.
Report Fallen Angel January 28, 2013 9:17 AM GMT
@booster with ROR I coompletely agree, be very dissapointed if he didn't run between now and the champion, although the clock is ticking.
Report Ballydoyle January 28, 2013 10:25 AM GMT
Binocular aint winning any Champion Hurdle and people are tuned to the moon thinking he can. Hurricane Fly farted all over him at Punchestown, had an interrupted prep when ahead of him in last year's chamopion and beat him effortlessly yesterday.

Oscar Whisky supporters can dream on as well...won't even tun up for a start ffs
Report Ballydoyle January 28, 2013 10:25 AM GMT
Lovin how we're around 7 weeks away and it's a cert that the ground will be softLaugh
Report cufcno1 January 28, 2013 10:51 AM GMT
the weather can soon change,it only takes a few dry days and they will be watering it !
Report Ballydoyle January 28, 2013 10:51 AM GMT
Exactly,....raining in January so it will be soft in March. Eh??
Report roobuck January 28, 2013 11:48 AM GMT
Don't think anyone is saying it is a cert to be soft.

If you don't think that the chances of it being soft this year are much higher than in previous years I think you are being slightly foolish. The reality is  that even if there is a dry spell, and then there is rain in the few days up to the festival, the going is far more likely to be affected.

Just look at the going change from Friday to Sunday of open meeting after just 6mm of rain
Report robbo69 January 28, 2013 12:08 PM GMT
Isn't the 'ideal' first day going gd/soft anyway?
Every chance with any average rainful that this year it will be at least that. The only difference from a normal year is it will be for want of a better word natural rather than man made (with watering).
Report buddeliea January 28, 2013 12:27 PM GMT
Trainer has said its very soft OW may well run in CH.
As For Binocular,no one is saying he WILL win the CH,but he will run a lot better than he did the other day for sure,and is an e/w proposition at the prices imo.
Also no one is saying it WILL be soft.
Learn to read properly!!
Wind up merchant.
Report cufcno1 January 28, 2013 12:46 PM GMT
ive never backed hf before but i think if it turns up in the form it did yesterday it will win on any ground !
Report alleged22 January 28, 2013 12:47 PM GMT
even if it is soft budd, OW will not beat the fly in the CH
Report buddeliea January 28, 2013 12:52 PM GMT
well you dont know that alleged,they have never raced against each other in those conditions.
i suspect you may be right,but if OW does turn up in soft ground he will be a threat to all.
Report Ballydoyle January 28, 2013 1:40 PM GMT
Buddeliea...give us your address and I'll send you a formbook son
Report robbo69 January 28, 2013 4:25 PM GMT
Can somebody please tell me what im missing!!!
Why has Binocular got any chance in the CH?
Beat 3 times by the fly, cant beat just for starters.
If he was double his current price he would be no value, hes not even first choice from his own yard. So the on the day gamble idea is a very very bad reason to bet him this time round, it wont happen!!!
He will be 5th or 6th like last year at very best!!!!
Report Ballydoyle January 28, 2013 4:26 PM GMT
Report Ming_the_Merciless January 28, 2013 4:29 PM GMT
could binoc be a pace maker for Darlan? - not blasting off at the start but taking it up a mile out for instance....
Report tony2914 January 28, 2013 4:34 PM GMT
thats one thing that i cant work out this year the pace angle, unless a rag goes blastin off im not sure which one of the big guns will be comfortable making it ?
Report Ballydoyle January 28, 2013 4:40 PM GMT
Why didnt Henderson send over Darlan or Grandouet against the Fly yesterday? Always moaning about where to place his nags that man yet bottles it yesterday. No point in sending Binocular imo...he's a spent force
Report Fallen Angel January 28, 2013 4:50 PM GMT
@Ballydoyle, fair question. Maybe he thinks Darlan has had enough of running on very soft ground. But still a valid question, again it was a £58k first prize, it's a huge amount except for the international, fighting fifth and the big handicaps. Worth winning in anyone's books considering the 3rd place in the champion is only worth £39k. Yesterday's 2nd place is worth £19k against 4th in the champion of £19k so again even finishing 2nd is valuable enough. I honestly think if they thought Darlan could win they would send him over, but just an opinion at the end of the day. Too many horses now are entirely festival focused. It's a shame really
Report buddeliea January 28, 2013 5:12 PM GMT
Haa Bally,very funny.
I know Binoculars form as well as anyone my friend.
I know hes not at his best in his 1st race,which some jokers on here are judging him by.
I also know(as much as one can) had he jumped the last he would have been at least 3rd,maybe 2nd, in last years race.
Hes a viable e/w bet at the prices on all known form,in particular at Cheltenham.
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 28, 2013 5:33 PM GMT
Pearl Swan in my honest opinion if running will probably make the pace and go off like a scolded cat for ZARKANDAR! I asked my mate this same question not long ago and he felt this fellow might be the one that does it.
Report GoldCupWinner January 28, 2013 6:59 PM GMT
He never sent Binocular for that race when he was at his best so wouldn't read anything in not sending Darlan. I wouldn't be surprised if he was just scouting how well Hurricane Fly is running compared to his own horses.
Report Meade in England January 28, 2013 8:22 PM GMT
HF did look impressive Sunday but still gone and backed Rock on Ruby today,as though some say he "fluked "his champion hurdle win he still ran it in 3min 50s with Hurricane Fly back in third .....Hurricane Fly won it in 3min 53sec so HF ran very similar times both years ,question is can he go any faster up that hill now he is getting older ,im just hoping we get good ground and imo think 8 to 1 EW about R O R  is a safer bet than 7-2 about HF to win.
Report buddeliea January 28, 2013 8:36 PM GMT
was no fluke,won it fair and square very impressively.
if he repeats that performance he wins again imo.IF!!
Think 8/1 is a fair bet Meade.
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 28, 2013 8:48 PM GMT
I still believe also that he didn't fluke it last year. Overturn for me was ridden to try and win the race last year with RoR just in behind with everyone else in behind expecting them up front to come back to them but the fact maguire got his fractions almost spot on put paid to that! And like ive already reiterated, hard to see the race being run again similarly so as regards do i think RoR can repeat and win again, yes, do i think his task will be that much harder this time, definitely yes!
Report Meade in England January 28, 2013 8:54 PM GMT
Sure it will be fantastic race to watch whatever the outcome....though more looking forward to actually being on course for champion hurdle day the first time this year....good luck whatever youre all backing like a kid waiting for xmas ,lol
Report alleged22 January 28, 2013 8:58 PM GMT
GCW id tend to agree with your comment regarding binocular if it were nov or dec, when he normally disappoints. but we are 6 weeks away from the festival.
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 28, 2013 9:20 PM GMT
Yeah for me every horse in the race ran to merit last year! It was just set up for the finish we had. Gonna be some spectacle once again, i just hope this time around whoever is up front taking them along does so this time round at a suicidal gallop to aid ZARKANDAR as he sits in behind the pace and uses his stamina at the end to run past all them out of puff up the hill Crazy as never is there a truer test of a horses speed and stamina than when that happens in champion hurdles at the cheltenham festival which of course we all agree is the blue riband of hurdling, the pinnacle, the top, the olympics of world national hunt horse racing! (ok Uk and Irish but it should be the world)
Report alleged22 January 28, 2013 9:27 PM GMT
i like your optimism STS, but what i tell myself is would ruby get off the fly to ride zarkander and the answer is no. i want to find the winner not running on for a place so i have put a line through zarkander, good horse that he is but he is not a CH hurdle winner in my book
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 28, 2013 9:29 PM GMT
Neither is the fly, not for me this year, he finishes placed, but doesnt win. I do honestly believe he will just fail again, finishing 2nd or 3rd.
Report alleged22 January 28, 2013 9:37 PM GMT
imo i think the fly looks better this year than the year he won it
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 January 28, 2013 9:43 PM GMT
Well, i would not mind him winning, obviously as have a 11/2 voucher and £20 each way on in my book. Though he isn't my biggest winner, thats been reserved for zarkandar.
Report alleged22 January 28, 2013 9:52 PM GMT
i rarely back each way in championship races, all my fly bets are on the nose. might have a saver on rock on ruby should the right price appear
Report GoldCupWinner January 28, 2013 11:41 PM GMT
Alleged I meant he never sent Binocular for that race when he was good 2-3 years ago so it probably isn't a race he aims his best horses at so not worried he didn't send Darlan.
Report frankalsoran60 January 29, 2013 12:37 PM GMT
Only twice in the last twenty years has the ground at the start of the Cheltenham Festival been classified as soft. On one of those occasions the going description was changed to good to soft after the third race on the first day (2007) so conditions were obviously not too dissimilar than the ‘good’ or ‘good to soft’ conditions we have come to expect.
Report Arklearkle January 29, 2013 5:53 PM GMT
In 2007 the weather had been very bad right up to about a week before Cheltenham and there were worries that it would not be on. There was flooding in some fields along the approach roads to Cheltenham even on the tuesday morning. However as you say the going was good to soft. The sun shone on a number of days that week also. The position of the course together with the drainage ensures that the going will never be heavy for very long. Of course should it rain for seven days and seven nights just before the meeting the story might be different. Surely the present wet weather cant continue for ever? Or can it!!!
Report splinterboy82 February 4, 2013 4:03 PM GMT
RIP Darlan :-(

You didn't deserve an end like that. Being one of The Fly's biggest fans I'm so so gutted the two of you didn't get to lock horns.
Love this sport so much but it aint half hard at times....
Report Fallen Angel February 4, 2013 4:27 PM GMT
It was very sad Sad he was absolutely cantering and would have set-up one of the most intriguing CH's in years. JP must be heartbroken.
Report Glenn11 February 4, 2013 10:19 PM GMT
re seathestar no1.

if pearl swan wins this weekend then i doubt very much he will lead out for zarkandar and based on his run last year i think you will find him sitting off the back like his run at cheltenham prior to his fall at the last.

looking at that run, if he stays on his feet then he is in the first 3 at worst.

think nicholls was quoted as saying 2 miles was on the short side for him, given all this weather, he is probably one of the fewer horses guaranteed to enjoy coming up the hill.

flat run was a good blow out, a win this weekend and i would think he enters the equation on a level with zarkandar.
Report racingptpok February 4, 2013 10:36 PM GMT
Good write up.   

Your way out with your estimation of the Fly's price on the day. If its 4/1 the horse won't be winning anyway.

I suggest it will be a very strong fav at around 7/4 and do a 'Comedy Of Errors'.

Go on THE FLY!
Report booster February 5, 2013 7:36 AM GMT
Let's hope he's even shorter so we can do the lay double after last year's failure at 4-6. Seriously he's so under priced it's incredible and all the same noises are being made that were this time last year. Hope there are no more accidents or withdrawals then we can finally see whether he's anything more than a decent Champion Hurdler.
Report Graeme83 February 5, 2013 10:57 AM GMT
I can see what the game is with the Hurricane Fly team. Perhaps the confidence is something to do with the possibility on soft ground ?
Report racingptpok February 5, 2013 11:14 AM GMT

I bet The Fly in 2011 at a tasty 4/1. His price  last year was far too short and I left it alone. There's nothing out there this year to best him. The price is all important and with his record I would not be betting him until the day. At around 2/1, I'll be on. At around evens I will proably swerve.
Report booster February 5, 2013 11:20 AM GMT
Well done in 2011, 4-1 was a good price. All I'm saying is he's got about the same chance as 3 horses all 3 times his price in the betting so is a lay now but will continue to shorten as the hype grows. They said last year there was nothing to beat him but he's a horse who constantly beats the same horses on heavy ground but has done it only once at the festival. On heavy ground he'd be difficult to lay, not least because the English horses prefer better ground but they were talking about having to water at Doncaster for Thursday's meeting and he's not at his best on that type of ground.
Report Brooksielad February 5, 2013 11:23 AM GMT
Im on the fly at 5s and 4s :) here's hoping he stays well until the big day and travels over well.
Report booster February 5, 2013 11:31 AM GMT
And that is just about the price he should be.
Report Ballydoyle February 5, 2013 11:54 AM GMT
I got 11-2 in 2011 at around January time. He was a better horse then than he is now.
Report Brooksielad February 5, 2013 1:59 PM GMT
I actually think he looked his best in his Novice campaign and imo this year aswell. Nothing stops the fly this time.
Report booster February 5, 2013 3:51 PM GMT
Really price is the only concern when you're betting regularly. I backed Rock On Ruby @ 16-1 on Boxing Day 2011 and 12-1 again on Champion Hurdle Day but none of that matters a jot in the context of this discussion. What's important is price for this year's race taking into account varying lines of form and horses' suitability to the race on the day. There are currently 4 horses with a similar chance yet one is 7-4. Looking at the last 2 year's Champion Hurdles I think I know which was the more impressive performance and more solid form.

Rock On Ruby has also just easily beaten a horse who ran away with a Fighting Fifth whereas Hurricabne Fly was a good bit less impressive in beating a Fighting Fifth winner in his Champion. I'm not saying any of this year's are a good thing just that the price differential is amazing.
Report alleged22 February 5, 2013 11:16 PM GMT
ROR was beaten fair and square by TS at aintree on ground that favoured ROR
Report booster February 6, 2013 6:21 AM GMT
And he also failed to run to form at Aintree the year before. Most serious punters know that form post Cheltenham has to be treated with caution especially for horses who''ve run their hearts out 2 or 3 weeks before.
Report alleged22 February 6, 2013 9:25 AM GMT
4 and a half weeks before.... id kind of agree if they had been to the well once too often, but it was only his 4th start that season
Report booster February 6, 2013 5:48 PM GMT
Much rather take last year's Champion Hurdle as a guide myself but each to his own.
Report Ming_the_Merciless February 6, 2013 5:53 PM GMT
Favourites:Hurricane Fly (2), Grandouet (11/2), Zarkandar (13/2), Rock On Ruby (7), Binocular (16), Cinders And Ashes (16), Countrywide Flame (20), Oscar Whisky (20), Cotton Mill (25), Grumeti (33), Overturn (40), Cause Of Causes (50), Pearl Swan (50)
Report buddeliea February 6, 2013 5:54 PM GMT
Booster is bang on Alleged imo,you can draw a line through his Aintree runs.
Report Catch Me ifyoucan March 11, 2013 3:16 PM GMT
Hurricane Fly (9/4), Zarkandar (7/2), Rock On Ruby (9/2), Grandouet (8), Binocular (9), Cinders And Ashes (14)
Report Ibrahima Sonko March 12, 2013 9:35 PM GMT
Well done cvb, unlucky with Grandouet as well.
Report buddeliea March 13, 2013 6:45 AM GMT
Yep,pleased for yer CV.
Hope you had a good night!!!
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