Fly 7/2 to regain crown

  • Last Updated: January 16 2013, 17:18 GMT

The winners of the last four StanJames Champion Hurdles are among 34 entries for this year's renewal announced on Wednesday.

Hurricane Fly: Heads the market with the sponsors
Hurricane Fly: Heads the market with the sponsors

The sponsors make Hurricane Fly their 7/2 favourite as Willie Mullins' charge looks to regain the crown he lost to Rock On Ruby last March.

Impressive Christmas Hurdle winner Darlan is next best at 4/1 for Nicky Henderson.

Rory Jiwani of StanJames.com said: "Hurricane Fly has been the subject of considerable support since his facile win at Leopardstown over Christmas with Willie Mullins insisting the 2011 Champion Hurdler is back to his best.

"He is our 7/2 favourite ahead of Darlan at 4/1 who is one of eight entries for Nicky Henderson.

"The one-two-three from last month's StanJames.com International occupy the next three spots in the betting with Paul Nicholls' Zarkandar and another Henderson inmate, Grandouet, both 7/1, and the defending Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby 10/1 for first-season trainer Harry Fry.

"Henderson is mob-handed with Oscar Whisky a 16/1 shot although another tilt at the World Hurdle looks likely unless the ground comes up very soft.

"2010 Champion Hurdler Binocular is 25/1 ahead of his planned seasonal reappearance in this month's Irish Champion Hurdle with 2009 winner Punjabi 40/1 after returning from a lengthy lay-off at Kempton over Christmas.

"We make the master of Seven Barrows 7/4 to secure his sixth Champion Hurdle triumph."

BetVictor saw money for the Paul Nicholls-trained French import Fago in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham (25s to 20) on Wednesday morning ahead of his winning British debut at Newbury.

The five-year-old has been cut further to 16s after an impressive round of jumping under Ruby Walsh to beat Ohio Gold.

Spokesperson Charlie McCann said: "The gelding will have to improve again to be a threat to Overturn and Simonsig at the Festival but he jumped very well at Newbury and was well-supported for Cheltenham ahead of his British debut this morning."

Sky Bet also make him a 16/1 chance for the big race in March.