Ruby Walsh will have plenty of support in the Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. Hurricane Fly is a two-time Champion Hurdle winner, has a record 19 Grade One wins to his name and has beaten Jezki and Our Conor twice already since Christmas. That kind of record is one to make you sit up and notice.
Unsurprisingly Ruby is quite ballsy about his chances to make it three Champion Hurdles in four years and told us exactly why the Fly won’t be beaten.
It is set to be an incredible renewal though, with the others fancying their chances against the ageing champ. Only two horses aged 10 or older have won this race since 1927 and as Hurricane Fly eyes up the horses equivalent of a pension and a free bus pass, the young pretenders have their eyes set on his crown.
The New One, Our Conor and My Tent Or Yours will all expect to be in the mix up Cleeve Hill, but top jockey Barry Geraghty isn’t slow to tip up his ride on Jezki, despite a couple of bad runs.
The opening race of the day is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and by now you should have heard about Paddy’s ridiculous offer to give Money-Back if your horse finishes second, third or fourth. Without going into too much of the math, basically if you’re backing your horse to win and he finishes in the top four you’re not losing anything.
What you probably haven’t heard before is John Parrott describing the battle between the top two in the market – Irving and Vautour – as ‘lickity-spit’. Please note, in this instance we think JP is saying that there won’t be much between them. The Urban Dictionary definition of lickity-spit is something completely different.
There you have it. Ruby is ballsy about Hurricane Fly, Geraghty says Jezki is the value and John Parrott is saying phrases that we probably shouldn’t Google on the work laptop. Cheltenham is back.
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- Cheltenham 2014 Infographic: Everything you need to know about the world’s greatest racing Festival