Sol to outwhit rivals
Ian Brindle's horse-by-horse guide to the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham on Thursday.
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Rejuvenated by switch back to hurdling and took full confidence from a victory in a Fairyhouse handicap off a mark of 122. Graduated into better company by taking the scalp of Solwhit in a conditions event, and confirmed he stayed three miles when accounting for Zaidpour in the Galmoy Hurdle.
Fair performer on his day and previous Festival winner having landed the Triumph Hurdle back in 2008. Made a belated seasonal reappearance in the Kingwell Hurdle when facing an impossible task off top weight. Hard to see him being good enough to be still around at the finish.
Officially rated some way beneath the market leaders but does at least stay three miles. Sent off at 100/1 last year when seventh to Big Buck's but ran a career best to be fourth a year previously. Trainer's yard has hit a purple patch over the last fortnight
Get Me Out Of Here
Capable horse when everything goes right although punters need to overlook two lamentable performances at Ascot and Kempton. Yet to race over this distance but with McCoy aboard he'll be popular and he was a solid second in last year's Coral Cup.
Rather overlooked in the shadow of his stable mate. Lightly raced and landed the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton in fine style before bombing out badly in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las.
Still has to answer the oft-posed conundrum of whether he stays three miles at Cheltenham or not and the waters were muddied further after his eclipse by Reve De Sivola in the Cleeve Hurdle. Trainer had very high hopes last season but was ultimately disappointed by his fifth place last year and if he runs up to the form of his victory in the Relkeel Hurdle - he has to be a very big player.
Appeared a very serious prospect when finishing a gallant second in the 2011 Champion Hurdle to Hurricane Fly though lost the plot over fences. Some have question marks about how much of that ability he maintains and it's interesting that he continues in the tongue strap that he sported at Musselburgh
Reve De Sivola
Hails from a relatively unfashionable yard and a cogent argument to suggest that he would be much shorter if the name of Nicholls or Henderson were against the trainer column. Chased home Big Buck's at a respectful distance in the Long Walk Hurdle at Newbury and slammed a decent field at Ascot (Smad Place well behind) prior to seeing off Oscar Whisky in the Relkeel. A favourite's chance.
Always held in high regard by trainer and put up a career best to be third in last year's renewal. Well behind Reve De Sivola at Ascot (when sent off as favourite). Trainer had a 1-2 in the Coral Cup on Wednesday so well-being of his stable certainly not a negative.
Steps up to the trip having confirmed the impression left on his reappearance from injury with victory over So Young at Naas. Very classy at his peak - regularly chasing home Champion Hurdle winner, Hurricane Fly - and if he stays on the bridle, is entitled to go close.
Useful performer in Listed company but ran poorly in this race last season. Surprised the market when accounting for Zaidpour in the Red Mills. Anything from this yard can never be readily discounted though the percentage call has to be one of opposition.
Takes a massive step up in grade having landed short odds for Paul Nicholls in a weak Chepstow Grade 2. Hasn't been seen out since but represents high profile owners that have some very smart bloodstock under both codes. Bids to be first five-year-old ever to win the race.
Talented yet enigmatic performer who makes a return to the Festival having finished seventh to Al Ferof in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle a couple of seasons ago. Looked to be going the right way when successful in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse but it's been a lean time for his backers with three subsequent defeats at short odds.
Likeable enough mare in her grade on the flat. On the basis of her hurdles form, she'll need far more than a 7lb mare's allowance in order to be competitive in this.
The absence of Big Buck's has pretty much made it open season as far as the World Hurdle is concerned. Reve De Sivola has done little wrong this season while Oscar Whisky is undoubtedly a major player if he truly stays. SOLWHIT has some extremely strong form in the locker and having looked to be a horse with a bright future ahead of him - connections faith in waiting 708 days for him to get back to the racecourse can be repaid. At the odds Zaidpour is a crazy price for a horse of his ability and if he fancies it today, he could hit the frame.