Champion Hurdle picture clearer after weekend trials
Despite the awful weather, the weekend action has helped to clarify the Champion Hurdle picture. My Tent Or Yours was never likely to be tested in his prep race on the all-weather at Kempton but both Nicky Henderson and Tony McCoy seemed delighted after he strolled home on the bridle.
He is a strong third favourite at 7-2 behind The New One and Hurricane Fly and there seems little doubt that the champion jockey will be on board at the festival. He does still have the option of riding Jezki, beaten by Hurricane Fly twice this season in Ireland.
Henderson endured a difficult week including two days without power and having to cancel his planned outing for Sprinter Sacre but My Tent Or Yours kept his Cheltenham bid on track. The gelding was always travelling powerfully and McCoy eased him to the front two furlongs from home to win by four and a half lengths.
Henderson had decided to avoid Saturday’s Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton because of the heavy ground and felt that his decision was vindicated after watching Melodic Rendezvous slog to a narrow win over Zarkandar. The winner looks very likely to line up in the Champion Hurdle providing there is sufficient give in the ground.
Jeremy Scott had originally believed that he would need it to be extremely testing to be competitive with the likes of Hurricane Fly but now believes that his eight-year-old has earned his chance. He remains unchanged at 25-1 with the trainer hoping for good to soft or worse for his stable star.
Although Willie Mullins has not yet ruled out the Champion Hurdle for easy Gowran Park winner Un De Sceaux, there was a distinct suggestion that the unbeaten gelding will not be risked this season. Post-race comments from both Mullins and winning rider Ruby Walsh suggested that he still lacked the necessary experience for a race like the Champion Hurdle.
Un De Sceaux is currently priced at 12-1 but has eased out to 16-1 elsewhere. Mullins is also still debating whether to run the unbeaten mare Annie Power (7-1) or go for the three-mile World Hurdle instead.