World Hurdle Odds and Betting Preview
The late inclusion of Annie Power into this field might just provide us with the most competitive and possibly the most unpredictable race of the entire festival. The Willie Mullins trained six year old comes straight in as the race favourite but there are factors for and against a win in Thursday’s World Hurdle.
Annie Power at Doncaster – 25-01-14
Annie Power leads the field at 15/8 with Coral and Paddy Power and you can’t ignore the fact that she is unbeaten coming into this race. Wins so far this season have come at Doncaster, Ascot and at Cheltenham but there are doubts about her stamina coming into a longer stretch.
Even jockey Ruby Walsh has admitted that the stable are guessing a little as to whether the horse can last the distance but does that mean you should be looking elsewhere?
Big Buck’s is second favourite at 11/4 with Bet365 and there’s no doubt as to who has the best record in this particular race. This horse won this event on four consecutive occasions from 2009 right through to 2012 and while age may be catching up, it seems likely that Big Buck’s will provide the greatest challenge to Annie Power on Thursday.
Big Buck’s didn’t compete in 2013 and at 11 years of age, there has to be questions over its capacity to overcome a recent tendon injury. Yes, this is a remarkable horse but it looks extremely vulnerable, particularly considering Annie Power’s late declaration.
After the two favourites, there is a big gap in the betting until At Fishers Cross at 6/1 with Paddy Power. Given that there are questions over the main two contenders, don’t rule this horse out, particularly after an impressive return to form in the recent Cleve Hurdle.
At Fishers Cross did go down by a short head to the rank outsider Knockara Beau but there were enough signs in this race to suggest that he can be truly competitive in Thursday’s World Hurdle. This horse comes from the JP McManus stable which will also be represented by More of That.
Trained by Jonjo O’Neill, the six year old has won on each of its four starts to date and while this race may have come a little too early, More of That is going to attract some serious money at odds of 10/1 with Bet365.
Look out too for Rule the World which has returned from a serious pelvic injury to claim a price of 9/1 with Paddy Power. This horse enjoyed great success prior to that setback and suggestions are that it could already be back to its best.
The horse racing betting sites trends show some interesting stats but it’s worth noting that the last ten winners of the World Hurdle have been priced no higher than 17/2. Shocks can certainly happen but that’s another reason to suggest concentrating on just two runners.
The race isn’t just about Annie Power versus Big Buck’s but it’s tough to look outside of the two favourites. The Cheltenham Festival is laden with fairy tales and it would be no surprise to see the four time winner come back after a gap of two years to take a fifth straight victory in this race.
However, it’s equally difficult to see past a season of injury and the fact that Big Buck’s is simply getting on a bit. Annie Power has this issue over stamina and whether she can stay ahead ‘up the hill’ but while she is fit and in form, this horse does seem to be the better option of the two main contenders.