Cheltenham Champion Hurdle 2014 – Odds and Betting Preview
The Cheltenham Festival begins on Tuesday and we look forward to four days of great racing and hopefully, some winning bets along the way. The highlight of the opening day is the Stan James Champion Hurdle and while we have joint favourites for this event, there are plenty of challengers making this a very open market indeed.
Hurricane Fly leads the way with most horse racing bookies and you can currently back the Irish based horse at 11/4 with Paddy Power and Bet365. This is a curious horse and back in its native Ireland, it is viewed as something of a superstar in the way that Desert Orchid was loved by all. In the UK however, its credentials are viewed less favourably but you can’t deny Hurricane Fly’s pedigree.
The Willie Mullins trained horse is a two time winner of the event and has a good record this season. However, if it does win on Tuesday, Hurricane Fly will become only the third ten year old to win the race.
Meanwhile, The New One can also be backed at 11/4 with Paddy Power and William Hill and while this horse has electric pace, its jumping technique has been called into question. Against top rated two milers, The New One has the speed to compensate for a rather ponderous approach to the fences and is the horse most likely to challenge Hurricane Fly for the win.
Having assessed the joint favourites, there is something of a gap in the betting until we reach Our Conor at odds of 4/1 with Paddy Power and William Hill. Our Conor narrowly lost out to My Tent or Yours last time they met and this is another horse with great speed but a vulnerability at the fences.
My Tent or Yours lines up in this race at 9/2 with Bet365 and having edged out Our Conor in their previous meeting, it will have the upper hand on the third favourite although a challenge to the top two may be out of reach.
But what about the outsiders? Jezki is an interesting horse that has the talent to win at Cheltenham but as yet it is showing inexperience in both sprinting and jumping. Jezki has won four times in Grade One races and despite pulling its head when competing at Leopardstown over Christmas, it finished a close second to Hurricane Fly by two lengths.
In a decent size field, this horse may not have the capabilities to win but at odds of 9/1 with Paddy Power, it could be your best each way punt.
Before parting with your money it’s definitely worth taking a look at the betting trends for this race. In the last ten years, seven out of ten Champions Hurdle winners had won last time out and nine out of ten had won at least one race during that season. Six out of ten had previously won at the Cheltenham Festival while nine out of ten had finished at least fourth at the meeting.
However, the crucial trend for us is that nine out of the last ten winners were aged between six and nine. Statistics are naturally there to broken but that would tend to rule out Hurricane Fly who has now gone past that upper age bracket.
While we aren’t necessarily among Hurricane Fly’s list of doubters, we do feel that The New One’s greater speed will count over the ground and if the horse can get its jumps right, it is the better bet of the two favourites.