Cheltenham Champion Hurdle betting tips and predictions for the 2014 Cheltenham Festival feature race on Tuesday 11th March at 3.20pm.
The Champion Hurdle market is shaping up nicely ahead of the Cheltenham Festival and the market leaders have all strengthened at the head of the betting following their prep runs. Hurricane Fly and The New One cannot be split at the top of the market at odds of 3/1 while My Tent or Yours and Our Conor are both in at 9/2.
The New One (3/1 Betfred) beat Zarkander in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December. Run on good ground, this race proved relatively uncompetitive with The New One powering up the hill to beat Zarkander by 6 lengths. Despite not jumping fluently over a few hurdles, he was mightily impressive when he was pressed jumping the last.
The next challenge facing The New One was My Tent Or Yours (9/2 BetVictor) at Kempton on Boxing Day in the Christmas Hurdle. This became quite a tactical race with The New One finding himself at the front of proceedings a long way from the finish. This led to a cracking race to the line with My Tent Or Yours showing great battling qualities to get the best of his market rival in a tight finish. Both horses performed commendably in a race that wouldn't really have suited either. My Tent Or Yours pulled early on as the pace was tame and The New One couldn’t use his potent turn of foot to best effect.
Over in Ireland we had a fantastic clash over the festive period between the reigning champion HURRICANE FLY (10/3 Betfred), last season’s Triumph Hurdle winner Our Conor (9/1 BetVictor), and last year’s Supreme Novice third Jezki (8/1 Coral). This was by far the most important trial to date and firmed up our belief in our Champion Hurdle betting tip for this year’s Cheltenham Festival. It’s result had a drastic effect on the market that seen Hurricane Fly pick up yet another Grade 1 victory as he swept past his rivals and stormed past the last, propelling him to favourite for the 2014 Champion Hurdle. This effort generally halved his odds with the bookmakers and saw him climb to a share of the market lead with The New One.
Another Irish raider who could make an appearance in the Champion Hurdle is the impressive mare Annie Power (10/1 Stan James) who is still unbeaten although the World Hurdle could be her preferred option for Cheltenham over the longer trip. Despite her impressive victories to date, in my mind she has the perfect attributes to tackle the 3m test of the World Hurdle. Willie Mullins has a vast array of riches yet he lacks a strong World Hurdle contender. This mare could well be that missing piece as she travels comfortably and looks to be doing her best work near the finish line.
In Mid-November I tipped HURRICANE FLY to win the Champion Hurdle at 11/2 in our ante-post Cheltenham tips and from what I have seen so far, it is still difficult to ignore the continued domination of the same horse, and as such he is still my prediction to win the Champion Hurdle. Despite many questioning his Champion Hurdle credentials; due to his age, form of his seasonal reappearance etc, he continues to win Grade 1 events and continues to beat good quality rivals.
Willie Mullins has said Hurricane Fly is still improving despite his age and is stronger than ever this season, something that was illustrated in his Irish Champion Hurdle win when he powered over the last and put his rivals to bed at Leopardstown a month ago.
I expected him to be closer to 9/4 after his double success in Ireland and considering the bullish nature of his trainer. His rivals may well have plenty of potential but this horse has proven his class over the last 5 years and I have every faith that he will continue to do so in March!
Champion Hurdle Betting Tips for Cheltenham 2014
Hurricane Fly to win – click here to bet at 3/1 with Betfred.
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