The International Hurdle (Cheltenham 3pm) has been won by some good horses in recent years including The New One (twice) and Champion Hurdle winner Binocular. The latter’s trainer has saddled 2 of the last 7 winners, both of which have been 4-year-olds.
There’s just 6 runners set to go to post, but it should still be an entertaining and informative contest.
Peace and Co @ evens
Unbeaten in 3 runs for Nicky Henderson, and connections have made no attempt to hide the fact they think he’s a genuine champion Hurdle contender. Although he only won the Triumph Hurdle by a neck, he was worth much more than the winning margin, and that was the first time he’s really been asked to come off the bridle. Would prefer better ground, but should still be very hard to beat. Top-rated runner on 159.
Old Guard 9/2
Impressive winner of his last two starts, both at Cheltenham off marks of 137 and 145, but it’s worth noting his jockey claimed 7lb and 8lb that day. Even more off-putting is the form of the Nicholls stable who have had just 1 winner from their last 33 runners.
Sempre Medici 6/1
You can never discount a Willie Mullins trained Ruby Walsh ridden challenger, but he’s yet to prove he’s up to winning this and is rated just 144. He is proven on heavy ground though should the heavens open.
Finished 3rd behind 2 stablemates in the Triumph Hurdle, but has hardly franked the form since. Small field may suit, but has 4 ¼ lengths to find on Triumph form with Peace and Co.
The 2011 Cheltenham Champion Bumber winner finally got a big prize when winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle 4 years later off a mark of 145. Beaten off 153 since, and would definitely prefer good ground.
Melodic Rendevous 25/1
Proving difficult to place at present and was very disappointing ay Haydock last time. Would love the ground to come up heavy, and not totally discounted if on a going day.
Peace and Co must be given the chance to fulfil the hype that has been coming from the stable over the winner months and, though he’ll undoubtedly be better on better ground, he’s still taken to win this on his way to better things.
Peace and Co & evens (888)