Thursday, 09 March 2017 15:31

Champion Hurdle 2017 News

Cheltenham News - Champion Hurdle

Limini has not been supplemented for Tuesday's Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival leaving JP McManus-owned duo Buveur D'Air and Yanworth at the head of 13 contenders.
Trainer Willie Mullins, who has won the race for four of the last six years, had raised the possibility of adding his mare to the line-up at a cost of £20,000 after she won impressively at Punchestown last month and bookmakers had her as short as 6-1 in the betting.
Limini, a winner at the 2016 Festival, could now possibly clash with stablemate Vroum Vroum Mag in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle, also on Tuesday.

Both mares are owned by Rich Ricci who said he felt it was a 'big ask' to throw Limini into the Champion Hurdle.
Ricci has won the last two Champion Hurdles with Faugheen and, last year, with suppplemented Annie Power. Both are currently recovering from injuries.
Ricci said: 'I've said all along that there was no point supplementing for the sake of it unless we thought she'd have a big chance of winning. I never had an interest in running just to get my money back.
'Last year, when we supplemented Annie Power, we knew she'd go very close to winning, but it was difficult to say that about Limini given the fact she's had only one run this season and was taking on a field of very experienced horses. It was going to be a big ask.

Ricci admits the fact Limini will not contest the Champion Hurdle could now impact on the options for Vroum Vroum Mag, who won the Mares' Hurdle last year.
Vroum Vroum Mag has a Champion Hurdle entry.
Writing in his blog for RTE, Ricci added: 'What the decision on Limini means for Vroum Vroum Mag is unclear. I remember last year when we were supplementing Annie I said I wasn't sure we were supplementing the right one considering how well Vroum Vroum was working.
'So I don't know what to do. She's in the Champion Hurdle, the Mares' Hurdle and the Stayers' Hurdle.
'What you can do is to be too clever by half, spread yourself too thin and walk away with nothing. I'm not interested in that after the year we've had so, although it wouldn't be my usual stance, I wouldn't be against both Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag taking each other on.

'Both are working well, there is still a week to go and we won't be calling that until the weekend I'd imagine.'
In addition to Vroum Vroum Mag, Mullins has left in both Footpad and Wicklow Brave, with Henry de Bromhead's Petit Mouchoir the leading Irish contender following his two recent Grade One victories, most latterly in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
Moon Racer, one of the main ante-post fancies for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, stands his ground for David Pipe, with Nigel Twiston-Davies primed to throw Festival regular The New One into battle once again in the two-mile showpiece.
King's second string Sceau Royal, Dan Skelton's Ch'tibello and the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Cyrus Darius round out the contenders.
Tombstone was another horse not to be supplemented, although his absence was not entirely unexpected. He will instead run in the Coral Cup off what appears to be a tempting handicap mark.

Mark Walsh is set to partner Yanworth in the Stan James Champion Hurdle although Barry Geraghty has ridden the seven-year-old on each of his eight starts over hurdles to date, but misses the Festival through injury.
And after discussions with owner JP McManus over the weekend, trainer Alan King confirmed Walsh will be his replacement.
"Mark Walsh is going to come over and have a sit on Yanworth and Uxizandre, probably on Thursday, and the plan is that he'll ride both horses at Cheltenham," the Barbury Castle handler told Press Association Sport.
"I don't know him at all, but he's a very good rider.
"I've been very happy with both horses since their last runs.
"Everything has gone well."

Yanworth is unbeaten in three starts this season, winning the Coral Hurdle at Ascot, the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.
He is the general 7-2 favourite for the Champion Hurdle, with Uxizandre 6-1 to claim another victory in the Ryanair Chase.

Raceday Ratings Early Bird Ratings:

Top Rated - Buveur D'air 4/1

2nd Rated - Yanworth 3/1