The 2016 Cheltenham Festival is rapidly approaching and we’ve got a series of four articles picking the Cheltenham tip from each Championship race.
Today’s selection comes from the 2016 Champion Hurdle which takes place on Tuesday 15th March and Faugheen is the current short odds favourite.
2016 Champion Hurdle Tips
Let's not beat about the bush, it's Faugheen's race to lose, something that seems hugely unlikely for anyone who witnessed his demolition display in the Irish Champion Hurdle on his most recent start. If you have missed the prices on him however, you are better off waiting until the day as the market will be awash with bookies pushing specials under our noses so at 1/3 currently he makes little appeal.
Second to him last year was Arctic Fire, a sensible place to begin looking for alternatives to the favourite again this time around. Willie Mullins seems to have spent the majority of this season trying to turn him into a stayer but he was a clear second best in the Irish Champion and it's not hard to see him filling that spot once again at the Festival.
Nichols Canyon sprung an early season surprise when ending the unbeaten record of Faugheen in the Morgiana Hurdle in November. As a lightly framed, ex flat horse, he requires a fraction of getting fit that a tank the size of Faugheen does and the placings were reversed in no uncertain terms last time.
Identity Thief was a gutsy winner of the Fighting Fifth but he was put in his place by Nichols Canyon over Christmas and would need to raise his game to a whole new level if he is to take a part in the finish. Nicky Henderson plays an interesting hand with My Tent or Yours who would be a big each way player if back to his best and the frustrating Peace And Co who shouldn't be totally disregarded despite being well below his best both starts this year.
For my Champion Hurdle tip this year it is simple – Faugheen will win the Champion Hurdle, but at this stage, Arctic Fire is a better choice at the prices to get into the places rather than the 'machine' to win at about 1/3!
Champion Hurdle Betting Tip
Arctic Fire (each-way) – 7/1 with bet365.
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