The World Hurdle is regarded as the feature race of Day 3 of the Festival. Some top quality horses have won this race in years gone by and non more so than Inglis Drever who passed away in 2009. Big Bucks was the latest horse to add his name to the roll of honour and is a short priced favourite to repeat-the-dose.
I’m not really one for stats and usually stick to punting on the flat due to me being a time merchant, however a few key stats to adhere to in this event are:
No five-year-old has ever won the World Hurdle.
An Irish trainer has not won the World Hurdle for 15 years.
Horses who finished unplaced on their final start before the World Hurdle have an awful record in the race, and it’s worth following horses in form.
At this distance and class you can usually single out a handful of real contenders along with the bit-part chancers and historically this is a race I do well in (although Kasbah Bliss last year was a minor blip).
With Kasbah Bliss and Punchestowns out the line-up this year, it has made room for the new guard with hot favourite Big Bucks scaring off the likes of Diamond Harry (who has now gone chasing) and a few others.
Cadoudal (FR) (18.0f) — Buck´s (FR) (Le Glorieux (10.1f))
Notes: Has shown a real liking to hurdles since being switched back to them after an in-different jumping campaign when first brought across the water from France. An impressive winner of the World Hurdle last year, the big strapping son of Cadoudal has continued his dominance over the staying hurdler division by racking up wins in the Long Distance Hurdle, and the Long Walk Hurdle both at Newbury. He is currently a short priced favourite and a horse they all have to beat but at the prices is no value whatsoever to the punter at this stage.
Kahyasi (12.8f) — Mosstraye (FR) (Tip Moss (FR ) (12.0f)
Notes: Is regarded by Tony McCoy as the chief threat to Big Buck’s this year but I really can’t see it. In fairness he ran a good honest race last time at Newbury but Big Buck’s ran a lacklustre and workmanlike race to win that day, and he’ll only improve. Whereas I’m not sure Karabak has the real scope to improve much further than already shown. I think at the prices there are a couple more horses which represent more value for their price.
Kahyasi (12.8f) — Standing Around (FR) (Garde Royale (11.2f))
Notes: Is somewhat short in the betting considering he won a three runner egg and spoon race last time out over 21F, and is untried at this sort of trip. The only two other times he has tried this trip has resulted in 13L and 55L defeats and placings well down the field. He is unexposed over this trip and could well improve for the extra trip but I’m not so sure and feel at his current price of 14/1 (William Hill) he has a lot more question marks over him than many.
Flemensfirth (USA) — June´s Bride (IRE) (Le Moss (12.4)
Notes: A horse I backed on the advice of a good judge I know, I’ve backed this horse for this race at around 40/1. I topped up again at 25/1 on the morning of the Cleeve Hurdle and also backed him for the Cleeve at 14/1. For a trainer such as Howard Johnson to bring Tidal Bay back to hurdles when he has in the past trained another prolific staying hurdler in the shape of Inglis Drever speaks volumes for me. He was a decent second to Massini’s Maguire in the Ballymore in 2007 and has since ran respectably over fences for his connections. His last victory in the Cleeve Hurdle was impressive in that he jumped impeccably and travelled supremely well for the staying hurdler. He at this stage is the biggest danger to Big Buck’s and one I expect a big run from.
Time For Rupert
Flemensfirth (USA) — Bell Walks Run (IRE) (Commanche Run (11.6f))
Notes: Is an improving sort for the Paul Webber stable and ran a race full of credit behind Tidal Bay in the Cleeve Hurdle giving away 4lbs. His form over the staying trip reads a respectable 112, with a victory in a handicap at Cheltenham off 145 in December. He clearly has a liking for the course and will be racing of level weights with Tidal Bay come March. He is a big price at around the 25/1 mark and I’d favour him to be much more competitive in this than a few of these.
In what looks an interesting renewal of the World Hurdle, it should pay to side with the Howard Johnson trained TIDAL BAY who looked a rejuvenated sort when back over hurdles last weekend. I have already taken some larger prices about him but feel the 9/1 currently available is still to big for the talented son of Flemensfirth and he should be more around the 5/1 mark. Time For Rupert is another who catches my eye and is worth a small each-way saver at around the 25/1 mark.