With just the one all-weather card on offer to us on Monday, I’ve taken a look back over the Cheltenham Festival and come up with a very early ante-post selection for the 2014 Champion Hurdle
Despite being turned over in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Nicky Henderson’s My Tent Or Yours could easily still develop in to a genuine contender for next year’s Champion Hurdle, given another year to strengthen up and more time to learn to settle a little better, and he certainly looked Champion material at Newbury.
Trained all winter with the Betfair Hurdle in mind, it could be that he peaked prior to the Festival this year and he still travelled all over what looked a high class field of novices, looking all over the winner coming down the hill.
People will point to him only having won on flat tracks to date and, while that is a fair point, it can’t be said that he didn’t come up the hill and he was actually coming back at Champagne Fever a little at the line.
Ruby Walsh gave the winner a superb ride, dictating things from the front and the crucial point of the race came when he slowed things up down the back straight, which meant My Tent Or Yours pulled his way closer to the pace and this lit him up again.
Still only six, the son of Desert Prince has plenty of improvement still in him and he will probably be even better on decent ground (should we get that next year). Before his summer break he is expected to run at Aintree and he will be very hard to beat around there, with his lethal turn of foot a likely potent weapon on the Mildmay course.
The last three horses that Henderson has saddled to finish runner-up in the Supreme, the ill-fated Darlan, Spirit Son and Binocular, all went on to win impressively at Aintree and, should My Tent Or Yours do likewise, he won’t be trading at double-figure odds for the Champion afterwards.
Looking further ahead, he looks the ideal type for a Christmas Hurdle and it’s not hard to see him towards the top of the Champion Hurdle market come Boxing Day. It is also worth pointing out that Sprinter Sacre and Oscar Whisky only finished third and fourth, respectively, in their Supreme for the stable and they haven’t done too bad subsequently either!
Ante-Post (Champion Hurdle 2014): My Tent Or Yours (10/1 Hills)
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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:
- SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
- BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
- MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
- SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
- FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
- RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
- AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
- CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
- PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
- SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
- TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)