On the eve of the biggest national hunt week in horse racing, Tyrone McGarthland gives some food for thought on who could be successful over the jumps on Tuesday.
The first day of racing sees the feature race being the Champion Hurdle. Fans favourite Hurricane Fly has proved himself as one of the best hurdlers of all time with 21 wins from 24 races, most famously in the 2011 and 2013 Champion Hurdles and will be looking to record a third victory in the race.
However, the tip is The New One. Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, the six-year-old has established himself as a top hurdler. With a comprehensive victory in the Neptune Management Investment Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs at last year’s Festival, the distance shouldn't be a problem.
Defeating 2012 Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby and Zarkander on his return gave hopes of an unbeaten season.
However, in his last outing at Kempton he was defeated by rival My Tent Or Yours who also runs in tomorrow's race.
Looking like the victor, Twiston-Davies' horse hit the last hurdle enabling jockey Tony McCoy to run him down at the line, but tomorrow should see a reverse in the standings and as current favourite at the bookmakers, it is hard to look past the younger horse.
In the first race of the meeting, Irving is current favourite in the The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race. Trained by Paul Nicholls, the five-year-old recorded his second success at Grade 2 level when winning the Dovecote at Kempton.
Taking his unbeaten record to four over hurdles, all under Nick Scholfield, trainer Nicholls is confident ahead of tomorrow.
"He's got all the speed in the world and will improve for better ground. He won't need to do much before the Supreme, he's a proper horse," Nicholls said.
The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase also takes place tomorrow and highly thought of Champagne Fever leads the betting so far. Currently at 5/2 at most bookmakers, the seven-year-old will look to win for the third time at the festival.
Losing at Leopardstown over fences, his conqueror Defy Logic will not be amongst those in the field tomorrow. Rock On Ruby is a good bet at 9/2 having one at Cheltenham before.
Champion trainer Nicky Henderson has won the last two Arkles with Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig and relies on Grandouet this year, although the 11/1 chance will have to turn around Kempton form with Dodging Bullets to have any chance.
The tip is Rock On Ruby who could cause an upset having won both starts this year. At nine-years-old this could be the last time we see this horse contesting for major honours at the festival.
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