Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) 2m 110y
- (4yo+, 2m 110y, Class 1, 10 runners)
- Winner £210,715 2nd £79,069 3rd £39,590 4th £19,721 5th £9,916 6th £4,958
- Going: Good-Good to Soft in places; Cross Country Good to Firm.
- Surface: Turf
- Winning time: 3m 50.10s
- Off time: 15:20:59
|1st||8 Rock On Ruby||11/1|
|3rd||4 Hurricane Fly||1¾||4/6f|
Binocular (FR) 24
|8||164 11-10||N J Henderson||A P McCoy||170||4/1|
Brampour (IRE) 25
|5||164 11-10||P F Nicholls||Mr H Derham||161||50/1|
Celestial Halo (IRE) 24
|8||164 11-10 bt||P F Nicholls||Harry Skelton||164||50/1|
Hurricane Fly (IRE) 44
|8||164 11-10||W P Mullins||R Walsh||173||4/6f|
Kalann (IRE) 24
|5||164 11-10||Miss S J Harty||M Darcy||145||150/1|
Oscars Well (IRE) 44
|7||164 11-10||Mrs J Harrington||R M Power||157||14/1|
Overturn (IRE) 78
|8||164 11-10||D McCain Jnr||J M Maguire||166||20/1|
Rock On Ruby (IRE) 78
|7||164 11-10 t||P F Nicholls||N D Fehily||165||11/1|
Zaidpour (FR) 24
|6||164 11-10||W P Mullins||P Townend||162||22/1|
Zarkandar (IRE) 25
|5||164 11-10||P F Nicholls||D A Jacob||160||9/1|
Hurricane Fly (IRE)
||7||11-10||W P Mullins||R Walsh||11/4|
Hurricane Fly has won 12 of his 14 starts over hurdles and been placed in the other two. Willie Mullins finally got him to Cheltenham last year and he didn't disappoint, staying on strongly up the hill to land this Grade 1 contest. Everything this season has been geared up for the champion to defend his crown and he should have no problem confirming Irish Champion Hurdle form at Leopardstown in January with Oscars Well and Kalann. However, at the odds, it must be worth taking a gamble that 2010 champion BINOCULAR can regain his title. A failed drugs test forced Nicky Henderson's classy eight-year-old to miss out last year and he still wasn't firing on all cylinders at Aintree and Punchestown subsequently. He was nine lengths behind Hurricane Fly on the latter occasion but ran a strange race that day, blowing the start then taking off to race at the head of affairs despite a series of errant jumps and only weakening approaching the last. He began this season quietly, finishing behind Overturn in the Fighting Fifth, but reversed that form in the Christmas Hurdle, where he also out battled Rock On Ruby, and oozed class when beating Celestial Halo on the bridle in the Kingwell at Wincanton when he probably wasn't fully tuned up - he'll have been trained to the minute for this. Zarkandar looks the most interesting of Paul Nicholls' quartet as he won the Triumph Hurdle here last year and kept his unbeaten record intact with a victory in a Grade 3 handicap at Newbury on his reappearance. Five-year-olds have an appalling record in the Champion Hurdle, however, and this is easily his toughest task to date.
Rock On Ruby (IRE) 7-4 (11-7) Tracked leader, driven to challenge after 3 out, led next, ridden and headed flat, kept on, held towards finish, 2nd of 5, nk behind Binocular (11-7) at Kempton 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Dec.
Overturn (IRE) 3-1 (11-7) Led, driven after 3 out, ridden and headed next, kept on same pace approaching last, no impression flat, 3rd of 5, 8l behind Binocular (11-7) at Kempton 2m hdl G1 (1) gs in Dec.
Hurricane Fly (IRE) 4-5fav (11-10) Tracked leaders in 3rd, smooth headway to challenge after 2 out, led early straight and soon asserted, stretched clear run-in, easily, won at Leopardstown 2m hdl G1 (1) sft in Jan beating Oscars Well (11-10) by 7l, 5 ran.
Binocular (FR) 5-6fav (11-10) Tracked leader, led approaching last, very easily, won at Wincanton 2m hdl G2 (1) sft in Feb beating Celestial Halo (11-10) by 6l, 5 ran.
Zarkandar (IRE) 11-4fav (11-1) Mid-division, pushed along and no impression approaching 3 out, rallied 2 out, led flat, stayed on well, won at Newbury 2m hcp hdl G3 (1) gs in Feb beating Get Me Out Of Here (10-8) by 1 1/4l, 20 ran.
Oscars Well (IRE) 8-1 (11-10) Tracked leader in 2nd, 3rd entering straight, ridden to go 2nd before last but no chance with easy winner last, kept on same pace, 2nd of 5, 7l behind Hurricane Fly (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m hdl G1 (1) sft in Jan.
Brampour (IRE) 33-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, behind approaching 3 out, stayed on from 2 out, nearest finish, 7th of 20, 10l behind Zarkandar (11-1) at Newbury 2m hcp hdl G3 (1) gs in Feb.
Zaidpour (FR) 2-9fav (11-12) Tracked leaders in 3rd, 2nd halfway, led after 4 out, travelled strongly and in control from 2 out, kept on well run-in, unextended, won at Gowran Park 2m hdl G2 (1) sft in Feb beating Kalann (11-3) by 7l, 6 ran.
Celestial Halo (IRE) 7-4 (11-10) Led, ridden and headed approaching last, stayed on same pace, well held by winner, 2nd of 5, 6l behind Binocular (11-10) at Wincanton 2m hdl G2 (1) sft in Feb.
Kalann (IRE) 11-1 (11-3) Held up in rear, 5th 3 out, ridden to go 2nd before last, kept on under pressure but no chance with easy winner, 2nd of 6, 7l behind Zaidpour (11-12) at Gowran Park 2m hdl G2 (1) sft in Feb.