Home Preview Cheltenham Festival 2015 – Champion Hurdle Preview

Cheltenham Festival 2015 – Champion Hurdle Preview

Faugheen’s unbeaten career has seen him rise to a Timeform Rating 171p. His jumps well, travels easily through his races, putting his rivals to the sword when quickening two or three hurdles from home. This will be his toughest assignment to date; however, track suitability, jumping, and stamina are proven. In addition, he has shown his versatility ground wise, winning on good through to heavy. One thing worth noting; nineteen of the last twenty winners ran in the same calendar year (Rock On Ruby 2012 the exception). Last run Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park). Jezki TR 170 shows his best form the spring. He battled on well to win last year’s renewal under the guidance of Mr Geraghty, who is a perfect five from five in the saddle. Good or good to soft suits him best and he looks sure to put a stern defence of his crown. The New One TR 169 finished third last year when arguably unlucky. Hampered by a fall at the third hurdle, it should be noted the pace dropped after that mishap, allowing The New One to make up the ground. The New One has not always been foot perfect. Mistakes at this level are difficult to overcome, particularly in the second half of the race. The remarkable Hurricane Fly TR 168 is unbeaten at Leopardstown; he has two Champion Hurdles and five consecutive Irish Champion Hurdles to his name. Whilst he handles good to soft, his overall profile suggests he is at his very best on soft/heavy ground. Purple Bay TR 160 looks held on Christmas Hurdle form while Irving TR 159 is yet to prove himself as effective on undulating. Arctic Fire TR 158 ran well when second to Hurricane Fly at the end of January. He will appreciate better ground and is one that will love a fast pace. One imagines genuine soft ground would improve Hurricane Fly’s chances while Jezki’s connections will be looking for good ground. Faugheen appears to handle any ground underhoof. Faugheen will race on or close to the pace, with The New One and Jezki being delivered late. Despite having something to prove on ratings, Faugheen looks to have everything one looks for in a Champion Hurdle winner. An uncomplicated ride, his only weakness appears to be the odd jumping mistake. On good ground Jezki will likely be the main danger with The New One sure to be in the mix when it matters. Off a fast pace on good ground, Arctic Fire will not be far away. grahamrichardsonline.co.uk – CHELTENHAM PREVIEW