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Champion Hurdle 2014

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Champion Hurdle 2014 Empty Champion Hurdle 2014

Post by racingnut on Thu 27 Feb 2014, 11:14 am

Pundits are already calling this the most anticipated race of the festival and judging by the probable line up then those views could very well be proved correct,for all that its an open contest that's not because its full of horses striving for Championship form,its the exact opposite in that its chock full of horse with absolute top fight form.Whoever wins this heat will have the right to be called The Champion Hurdler.Im basing my views on the race being run on what has become normal first day Festival ground,good to soft,soft at worst.

ANNIE POWER
The Mullins yard has a plethora of untapped talent as this mare fits that bill as much as any inmate.A string of ones next to her name,top flight form and yet we still don't really know how good she is.She travels like a dream,she hurdles adequately and she doesn't lack toe for a mare who is essentially bred to be a stayer.Her UK form on the bare bones of it warrants her a place in this heat,shes put Zarkandar to the sword twice without really being asked anything serious and although she won an egg and spoon race at Doncaster after Cockney Sparrows fall it would take a leap of faith to say that she wouldn't have won in the same fashion had her big rival stayed on her feet.The World Hurdle was muted but to me it was this event or nothing.Getting the 7lb allowance is a massive bonus and with the course and distance holding no fears and the race almost certainly being run to suit then I give her a massive shout.I still think that people who should know better have slightly over looked her credentials,in other years she would have being a much shorter price,that just goes to show how deep this years field is.Big player.

GRUMETI
In the top handful of juveniles in his given year,an admirable,honest type but purely on what weve seen this season and taking into account the rather patchy form of the Alan King yard its still hard to see this fellow getting into the mix.Previous Festival form is arguably his only plus point.He will have much easier tasks than this.

HURRICANE FLYER
The reigning Champ,a multi multiple Grade one performer who has nothing to prove.He has all the attributes in spades and even in what some may class as the Autumn of his career he looks the one to beat.Personally I think the only minus against him is Cheltenham itself,still not convinced that he reserves his very best for this place,his absolute very best is reserved for Leopardstown and with this renewal being the best that hes contested then nothing but his very best will suffice.That said he is the one to beat and theres no substitute for class.Must be on the premises.

JEZKI
Ultra solid novice form, including a fine third in the Festival opener last year he has found it difficult this season as he has had to mix it with the big boys.He cant beat Hurricane Fly on any formline and having been ridden all different ways.Cant imagine that AP McCoy had too hard a decision to make in over looking this McManus runner.He'll outrun himself to finish in the first five.

MELODIC RENDEVOUS
Grade one winning novice,who was thought to be a total mudlark,he did however bury those views when winning around Wincanton on decent ground.Lacklustre effort in the Fighting Fifth was excusable given the injury sustained and he showed solid form again when running down Zarkandar.That form taken literally does leave him with more to find but there has been worse 20/1 shots in years gone by.If they go crazy up front and fall in a hole then he could pick up the pieces and hit the frame.Small ew caim.

MY TENT OR YOURS
Hard to argue with his novice form with top flight efforts at both big Festivals last year.Has done nothing wrong so far this season,won at Newcastle first up and in doing so he laid the ghost of him needing a sharp track,Newcastle is a much stiffer track than people think.A Kempton clash with The New One proved to be a real humdinger,the McCoy drive and his nemesis making a last flight blunder being the difference.A canter round the Kempton sand told us nothing other than hes still got a leg in each corner.He travels like a dream,he hurdles low and quick and he produces a sharp turn of foot at the business end.His only possible minus is the track,he appeared not to truly get up the Hill in last years Novice and that is always in the back of your mind but that said its hard not to see him being anything other than a massive player.

OUR CONOR
A facile winner of last years Triumph,he like his compatriot Jezki has found it hard taking on the big guns.His efforts in defeat have been however form of admirable merit,he did look like giving the Hurricane a bloody nose at Leopardstown until pure quality told close home.The C/D hold no fears and an end to end gallop may see he even closer to the Champ but this event represents another step up and he needs to improve again.He could run the race of his life and still not finish in the first five.

PTIT ZIG
His Grade one win in France probably ended any thoughts of handicaps and he does need bottomless ground to be seen in his best light.No chance on what we know and the wheels would have to come off on a handful of runners for him to get involved.

THE NEW ONE
All over him at last years Festival and backed him for this in the wake of his Neptune romp.A Kempton breeze defeating Rock on Ruby augered well and although not everyone was a fan of his follow up victory over Zarkandar,he didn't hurdle with any great fluency,i thought it adequate.The Boxing day showdown with My Tent Or Yours was a belter,a last flight mistake and him having to cut out most of the running probably counted against him.He does however have all the attributes needed,strong traveller,adequate over his flights,a sharp turn of foot but most of all he devours the Cheltenham Hill,he loves it.Ive ran his race through my mind front,back and round again and I cant for the life of me see him been outside of the places at worst.For me the likely winner.

THOUSAND STARS
A light of seasons past and looks like a pacemaker for other better fancied stable runners.Would need to get a five minute start to be involved.

UN DE SCEAUX
Yet another Mullins inmate of untapped potential.A total galloping machine,he gets out on the front end and just winds it up from halfway,relentless.His participation is still up in the air and his stable are level headed enough not to blow his mind by pitching him against these unless hes ready.If he does show up then he cant be discounted although he may be found out for a change of gear against a field of this quality on a decent surface.Whatever way they go with him he is without doubt the most promising individual on either side of the Irish Sea.

As good a renewal as I can recall,brings back long lost memories of Monksfield,Sea Pigeon and Pollardstown locking horns.Hurricane Fly warrants the utmost respect,his record is there for all to see but I take one of the younger lights to rest the Crown from the Irish superstar.THE NEW ONE has prev ious Festival form,loves this place, has all the qualities needed and I cant see anything devouring the final climb to the finish like him.Of the bigger priced runners Melodic Rendevous could outrun his odds.

1.THE NEW ONE
2.HURRICANE FLY
3.ANNIE POWER

Longshot MELODIC RENDEVOUS

racingnut

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