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Cheltenham: Champion Hurdle runners and riders

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL Tue 15-Fri 18 March
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live Tue 1200-1600 GMT, Wed/ Thur 1400-1600, Fri 1300-1600, Champion Hurdle 1520, Channel 4 TV/Racing UK
Reports and results: BBC Sport website
Twitter: Updates from BBC's Cornelius Lysaght and Honest Frank

Stan James Champion Hurdle

2m ½f, Cheltenham, Tuesday 15 March, 1520 GMT

Number, form, name, age, weight, trainer, jockey.

Odds are a guide for information purposes only.

By Frank Keogh

VERDICT: The late withdrawal of last year's winner Binocular puts a different focus on the race, but it remains an intriguing contest. Made for Cheltenham and in capable hands, MENORAH gets the nod from Peddlers Cross. Khyber Kim or Dunguib could go well at bigger odds.

Pinstickers' choice: 1 Menorah 2 Peddlers Cross 3 Khyber Kim

1 14-P4(6)U02 BYGONES OF BRID (IRE) 8 11-10
Karen McLintock Timmy Murphy
Second to Peddlers Cross at Kelso in February. Has been comfortably undone by that opponent on three occasions in the last year and hard to see there being a reversal in fortune here. Not to be confused with stablemate Bygones in Brid, owned by Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, who is due to run in the Champion Bumper on Wednesday.
Odds: 200-1 Rating: 5/10

2 1-11144 CLERK'S CHOICE (IRE) 5 11-10
Michael Banks Tom Molloy
Won at Cheltenham in October to claim his fourth consecutive victory and ran a decent race at the track when fourth to Menorah in December. Beaten by eight-and-a-quarter lengths that day. Has ground to make up on the leading contenders.
Odds: 66-1 Rating: 5/10

3 111136-1 DUNGUIB (IRE) 8 11-10
Philip Fenton IRE Barry O'Connell
Brilliant winner of 2009 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and possibly could have done better when third to Menorah in Supreme Novices' Hurdle last year. One victory from only run this season in a much lighter campaign. Interesting.
Odds: 9-1 Rating: 7/10

4 1/131-111 HURRICANE FLY (IRE) 7 11-10
Willie Mullins IRE Ruby Walsh
Big Irish hope. Winner of seven Grade One races, including three this season. Classy but racing for first time in England after missing last two Cheltenham Festivals through injury. His sire Montjeu has yet to produce a winner at this meeting while the brilliant jockey and trainer are seeking their first Champion Hurdle triumph.
Odds: 7-2 Rating: 8/10

5 51121-4 KHYBER KIM 9 11-10
Nigel Twiston-Davies Paddy Brennan
Runner-up last year to Binocular (who is absent this time) and had won twice at the track earlier in the season. Trainer, who is based 12 miles from the course, thinks he has been under-rated. Not at his best last time out, but could be seen to better effect here.
Odds: 14-1 Rating: 7/10

6 1212-11 MENORAH (IRE) 6 11-10
Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson
Never out of the first two in nine runs, he has won three times at Cheltenham in the last 12 months, including the opening Supreme Novices' Hurdle at last year's Festival. Will relish the uphill finish. Trainer and jockey won the Champion Hurdle in 2003 with Rooster Booster.
Odds: 7-2 Rating: 9/10

7 B11-5211 MILLE CHIEF (FR)
5 11-10 Alan King Robert Thornton
Good winner of the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on his last run and scored under big weight at Sandown previously. Jockey and trainer won race with another five-year-old, Katchit, in 2008. Has never run on going better than good to soft so drying ground could provide a new challenge.
Odds: 14-1 Rating: 7/10

8 1/1114-11 OSCAR WHISKY (IRE) 6 11-10
Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty
Fourth in the 2010 Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham behind winner Menorah, has gone on to win the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, where owner Dai Walters is the supremo. Will he be raising his glass? Unlikely to be disgraced but needs to improve further.
Odds: 8-1 Rating: 7/10

9 111-2125 OVERTURN (IRE) 7 11-10
Donald McCain Graham Lee
Notched up five victories in less than five months last year, topped by the Galway Hurdle in July. Second to Binocular at Kempton in January but fared poorly on last outing at Wincanton when well beaten in fifth behind winner Mille Chief.
Odds: 50-1 Rating: 7/10

10 11111-11 PEDDLERS CROSS (IRE) 6 11-10
Donald McCain Jason Maguire
Unbeaten in all eight races. Won the Neptune novices' hurdle at the 2010 Festival for trainer, who is son of Ginger McCain, the man who saddled triple Grand National winner Red Rum. Regular jockey takes the mount after having a riding ban reduced by one day.
Odds: 4-1 Rating: 8/10

11 1013-043 THOUSAND STARS (FR) 7 11-10
Willie Mullins IRE Paul Townend
Won the County Hurdle at Cheltenham last year. Jockey had hoped to ride better-fancied stablemate Hurricane Fly, but drying conditions should suit and is not a back number. Could be staying on at the end.
Odds: 25-1 Rating: 7/10



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see also
Binocular withdrawn from Hurdle
13 Mar 11 |  Horse Racing
Maguire free for Champion Hurdle
03 Mar 11 |  Horse Racing
Binocular lands Champion Hurdle
16 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing


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