The 2013 Champion Hurdle is shaping up to be one of the biggest races of the entire Cheltenham Festival. There are plot-lines aplenty with potentially three previous champions, Hurricane Fly, Rock On Ruby and Binocular, all locking horns with the younger generation of hurdlers.
A fantastic race lies in prospect and one that can’t be missed.
To witness which one of the many challengers can reign supreme in the Champion Hurdle, then taking your custom to Paddy Power looks the way to go. The growth of Paddy Power as an online betting company has been one of the success stories of the industry in the last 10 years.
The way in which the firm have progressed since focusing more of their time on the new generation of gamblers, who like to embrace and use modern technology with their gambling, has been a breath of fresh air.
Their Bet and Watch service allows punters to watch any Festival race, including the Champion Hurdle, on Paddy Power’s brilliant live sports streaming service which is among the most functioning website online.
In order to watch your selected Cheltenham race, you’ll need to sign up for a free account, using the promotion code for a free bet and place a bet of £1 or more on the Champion Hurdle market.
Last year’s renewal was another vintage race, which was won by Rock On Ruby, who continued the great record of horses that ran in the previous year’s Neptune Novices Hurdle. Their record now reads 112331 from the last six runners to have run in both.
Harry Fry’s horse will be back again in 2013 to defend his crown, but he would become first horse since Hardy Eustace to successfully defend a Champion Hurdle title – even the great Hurricane Fly was beaten last season after going off an odds-on shot.
He, along with Rock On Ruby, who beat him by five and a half lengths in the 2012 are being prepared for another stint at the title, but Hurricane Fly, who won this in 2011, will have to become the first horse in history to regain a Champion Hurdle crown after relinquishing it.
Of those two, the momentum this year is certainly with the Irish challenger, who is trained by Willie Mullins.
The nine-year-old cantered to victory by seven lengths in the Grade One Istabraq Hurdle at Leopardstown just before the New Year. That came after he won the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November by 12 lengths after Go Native, who was challenging all the way, fell at the last.
Those performances have certainly got punters juices flowing for the Fly with all his supporters forgiving him that poor showing in last year’s Champion Hurdle and taking the 4/1 on offer with Paddy Power on him winning back his title.
Rock On Ruby has drifted out to 10/1 with William Hill after he was a little disappointing on his comeback run where he was put in his place by two of the two young pretenders, Zarkandar and Grandouet, in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Zarkandar, who finished fifth in last year’s Champion Hurdle, looks an altogether different proposition this season and showed a superb attitude to see-off Grandouet at Cheltenham by two lengths.
He is now a 7/1 shot and is Paul Nicholls’ first choice for the race.
Grandouet is still well in the mix for the race and could go well at 8/1 with Ladbrokes, but the real challenger from the Nicky Henderson yard is Darlan, who is the ante-post favourite at 7/2 with Paddy Power.
The Supreme Novices Hurdle runner-up landed the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Kempton on his reappearance in fine style but still may be lacking in experience to land a race like the Champion Hurdle.
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