Skip to main content

Punchestown Champion Hurdle Preview

It's just a four-horse field in today's feature but it is full of class. James Jack, @materialista27, assesses the field.


Rabobank Punchestown Champion Hurdle
The Punchestown Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 race, open to horses aged four years or older. It is run over a distance of about 2 miles (3,219 metres), and there are nine hurdles to be jumped. The race was established in 1999 and previous winners are the who's who of Irish hurdle racing including Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, Brave Inca and current two-time defending champion Hurricane Fly. Willie Mullins has saddled three winners in the past, so it's not a surprise to see he's responsible for three of the four runners in this year's renewal. The prize fund for the race is €160,000 of which €96,000 goes to the winner. All horses carry eleven stone twelve.

Hurricane Fly
Ruby Walsh for Willie Mullins
As previously mentioned 2010 and 2011 winner, but he stunk at Cheltenham. Given the injury concerns at the start of the season and the fact that this is run at a heavy ground Punchestown and not a good ground, you could forgive his last run. He chugged up in heavy conditions at Leopardstown in November and looks like he could quite easily make up for that poor Cheltenham run tomorrow. On the face of it, the race looks like a race for second place behind him, but he's not Sprinter Sacre. He's got the form, and should win this easily.

The Real Article
Barry Geraghty for Edward O'Grady
Sorry, but can't win this and Bazza G isn't riding for Nicky "Dwain" Henderson. Yeah sure, this horse has won a couple of Grade 2 races this season. However, this is a massive jump for him and he's only 21lbs behind Hurricane Fly. He's also got to make up 17 lengths on Thousand Stars given their performances in the Istabraq hurdle at Leopardstown in November. He's not for me, the 40/1 quotes seem about right, even given that this is a 5 horse race; he's a class below the other 4.

Thousand Stars
Katie Walsh for Willie Mullins
Finished third in the Irish Champion Hurdle to Hurricane Fly and Oscars Well. That form looks reasonably solid given the subsequent Cheltenham form and he should be in the mix in this one. He goes well on soft/heavy ground given he won a Grade 1 here in November beating Oscars Well. Most of his defeats in the last two years have come at the hands of Hurricane Fly, so there's no reason to doubt that now. If he was 7/1 I would be tempted to back him, but not at 4/1, sorry.

Zaidpour
Paul Townend for Willie Mullins

An interesting addition to this field, as he hasn't me too many of these horses before. Sure, he was well beaten by Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, but they went too fast for him that day, and given the heavy conditions they won't be running away from him in this. I'd expect him to try and dictate from the front and plod away in a similar style to Overturn. Townend is a canny jock and he knows what he's doing in this race. Zaidpour has beaten Voler La Vedette over 3 miles and beaten some donkeys over 2 in a Grade 2 at Gowran Park is similarly ploughed ground. I expect him to go close, and at least beat Thousand Stars and The Real Article.

ADVICE

5pt reverse forecast Hurricane Fly and Zaidpour

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

It's all gone Pete Tong at Betfair!

The Christmas Hurdle from Leopardstown, a good Grade 2 race during the holiday period. But now it will go into history as the race which brought Betfair down. Over £21m at odds of 29 available on Voler La Vedette in-running - that's a potential liability of over £500m. You might think that's a bit suspicious, something's fishy, especially with the horse starting at a Betfair SP of 2.96. Well, this wasn't a horse being stopped by a jockey either - the bloody horse won! Look at what was matched at 29. Split that in half and multiply by 28 for the actual liability for the layer(s). (Matched amounts always shown as double the backers' stake, never counts the layers' risk). There's no way a Betfair client would have £600m+ in their account. Maybe £20 or even £50m from the massive syndicates who regard(ed) Betfair as safer than any bank, but not £600m. So the error has to be something technical. However, rumour has it, a helpdesk reply (not gospel, natur

What shits me about match-fixing 'journalism'.

The anti-wagering media bandwagon has dozens of new members this week, all weighing in an industry they have absolutely no idea about. I'm all for getting the betting industry into the mainstream but it shits me no end when they roll out reports and celebrities who simply don't have a clue what they are talking about and don't bother to check basic facts which key arguments in their story. If this was the financial industry, making errors like this would have them in all sorts of trouble, but the same level of regulation doesn't apply because finance stock markets are supposedly all legitimate and serious, whereas sports betting is just a bit of fun for people who can never win in the long-term... according to the media. This week we have seen the sting by the Telegraph which, on the face of it, looks to be a tremendous piece of investigative work into fixing in English football. But the headlines around it are over-sensationalised yet again. Delroy Facey, a former pla

Racing has a Ponzi scheme - and the fallout will be enormous

When the term ' Ponzi scheme ' is mentioned these days, the names Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford instantly spring to mind. The pair of them ran multi-billion dollar frauds (US$60bn and $8bn respectively) that destroyed the lives of thousands of investors who had put their life savings into a 'wonderful' investment strategy. How so many people were sucked into the scheme is baffling to those on the outside. The lifestyle, the sales pitch, the success stories of the early investors - I suppose it all adds up. So where does this link to racing you ask? A prominent Australian 'racing identity' this week has been reported to have lost access to a bank account with punters' club funds of $194m in it. Firstly - is there a worse term for anyone to be labelled with that 'racing identity'? It ALWAYS ends up meaning shonky crook! Secondly - who the hell has a punters' club with an active bankroll in the tens of millions? It simply can't be done. T