The World Hurdle is always a test of attrition where the true stayers come to the fore. In recent times it has usually been easier to decide the winner due to regular winning stars such as Big Bucks, Inglis Drever in 2005, 2007 and 2008 and previously to that Baracouda in 2002 and 2003. All stars of the sport and this year we have potentially another on our hands.

This race requires a true stayer as a number of times fancied horses have gone into this race with leading credentials but when it comes down to it they either failed to get a true 3 miles and were outbattled by horses with stamina and class which is a requirement in this event. This was the case 2 years ago when Annie Power went into the race as a leading contender and was outstayed by More Of That who runs again this year. Annie Power was among the entries this year but is now set for the Champion Hurdle with Faugheen an absentee.

The last 3 winners will not go down as all-time greats and last years race won by Cole Harden was depleted by More Of That’s absence and Annie Power running in the Mares Race. This Year’s race looks more clear cut with THISTLECRACK looking a good thing based on his exploits in the major trials for staying hurdlers and his price of generally odds on reflects his superiority.

In my opinion he looks nailed on as there are major doubts about the opposition as a number of them are entered elsewhere notably Vroom Vroom Mag in the mares hurdle. I think Saphir De Rheu could fill one of the places (12/1) as all the right noises have been coming out of the Paul Nicholls Yard and possibly Cole Harden (8/1), last years victor who excels at this time of year.He also loves better ground and seems to thrive in the spring so ignore his earlier runs this season as he seems to thrive at this time of the year and could be a value for money bet being a previous winner of this hard race.

I also hear that Alpha Des Obeaux who has been running against better opponents over shorter distances is well fancied by his astute trainer Mouse Morris who is only going to have 2 runners at this meeting and at around 6/1 could be worth an investment as his trainer has stated recently that he is well fancied and seemed very confident regarding his chances in this race. He raced against Thistlecrack at Aintree last season in the Sefton Novice Hurdle when he fell at the last so connections fancy their chance of gaining revenge in this grade 1 contest as he has finished runner-up in 3 grade 1’s and last time out won the Galmoy Hurdle by 11 lengths so looks a leading contender.

Martello Tower also comes into calculations as he has proven history at Cheltenham being a past winner of the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle which proves he loves the course and the trip would not be an issue either and at his current odds of around 25/1 could be a tempting prospect for value seekers looking for an each way investment and the going would not be an issue for his chances either.

The line-up does lack the depth of previous years but still looks to have some high class contenders which I have highlighted above and will make it a race to savour. There could be a shock in store if Thistlecrack fails to deliver.

Lets look forward to a Great Race.


Eagle Eye.

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