Rory Jiwani of race sponsors StanJames.com says, “Defending champion Hurricane Fly leads three entries for Willie Mullins out of the 12 at this stage but Zaidpour looks unlikely to travel due to the ground, and Thousand Stars is also engaged for next Thursday’s World Hurdle. We make the Fly 8/11 favourite to retain his crown.
“Oscars Well and rank outsider Kalann complete the Irish challenge with seven of the 12 hailing from English yards. 2010 champion Binocular is Nicky Henderson’s only entry and shares second favouritism at 5/1 with last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner Zarkandar. The five-year-old heads Paul Nicholls’ four-pronged attack as he seeks that elusive first Champion Hurdle success with Rock On Ruby, Brampour and 2009 runner-up Celestial Halo also entered.
“Completing the declared runners are StanJames.com Fighting Fifth winner Overturn and Tom George’s Olofi. If Overturn were to cause an upset, it would cost us a bundle as anyone who backed him to win the Fighting Fifth received a free bet to the same stake at SP for the Champion Hurdle.”
StanJames Champion Hurdle NRNB (EW 1/4 1,2,3): 8/11 Hurricane Fly 5 Binocular, Zarkandar 8 Rock On Ruby 9 Oscars Well 20 Thousand Stars 25 Overturn 33 Zaidpour 50 Brampour 66 Celestial Halo 100 Olofi 200 Kalann