Full trends preview and World Hurdle betting tips for the championship race on day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival 2014 at 3.20pm
The hurdlers take centre stage in the 3m World Hurdle on Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival. It promises to be a fascinating race with the old champion Big Buck’s facing off against the new guard – At Fishers Cross, Annie Power, Zarkandar and Reve De Sivola. It promises to be one of the best races of the Festival and I have compiled some trends to help decipher the puzzle.
10 out of the last 10 winners were aged between 6 & 9yo (1 older than 10 since 1972).
10 out of the last 10 winners had an SP under 17/2.
10 out of the last 10 winners had won all hurdle starts that season.
10 out of the last 10 winners had previously run at the Cheltenham Festival.
10 out of the last 10 winners had finished 1st or 2nd in all hurdle runs that season.
10 out of the last 10 winners had run between 1 – 4 times that season.
8 out of the last 10 winners had won last time out.
8 out of the last 10 winners had won a Grade 1 hurdle previously.
8 out of the last 10 winners had won over 3m+.
At Fishers Cross (9/1 Betfred) is the choice of Tony McCoy ahead of More Of That and the horse would clearly have a good chance if returning to the form that saw him win the Albert Bartlett Hurdle last year. He meets a few of the trends on offer and should have a good chance of a place but on recent form he would be tough to back.
More Of That (10/1 bet365) is unbeaten in four starts and won the Relkeel well last time out. Like At Fishers Cross, he does meet a few of the trends but this is a big step up in class.
Paul Nicholls enters four in the race headed by the four-times champion Big Buck’s (4/1 William Hill). The horse won the race in four consecutive years before getting injured and failing to contest last year’s race. On his return he finished 3rd behind At Fishers Cross and it is uncertain whether he retains his ability of old. Added to that, the trends state that the great champion is in danger as only one horse aged 10 or above has won the race since 1972. The other three Paul Nicholls’ runners are Celestial Halo (25/1 Stan James), Zarkandar (14/1 Stan James) and Salubrious (25/1 BetVictor). The former probably has the best chance but there are question marks posed by the trends that say all three runners will struggle to make a real impact.
Mala Beach (66/1 Coral) and Medinas (33/1 Ladbrokes) are good horses in their own right but lack the ability to win this whereas Reve De Sivola (40/1 Ladbrokes) seems to be on the downslide and the trends say that these three will also struggle. Rule The World (10/1 William Hill) has yet to prove he is Grade 1 class but deserves his chance at the top level and trends say he would have a chance if improving on previous form.
The other Willie Mullins’ super-mare ANNIE POWER (7/4 William Hill) looks to be the one everyone has their eyes on. She has dominated every race she has ran in and looks to be something quite special. The only issues I would have is that she still hasn’t beaten much at top class and is yet to run over 3m. Despite the reservations the trends say that this mare is the one to be on, and I know she may be short in the betting but if Annie Power lives up to the hype she could be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
As much as it would be great to see the old champion Big Buck’s win, the injury and age issue will surely play an important part and he looks there to be shot at by what looks like a superb racehorse in ANNIE POWER. Zarkandar, At Fishers Cross and More Of That look to have chances to nick a place but all eyes will be on the mare.
ANNIE POWER (WIN) (7/4 William Hill)
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