Julian Muscat assesses the kind from the four feature races. Tuesday, March 10: Stan James Champ Hurdle – This intriguing competition convenes Jezki, The New One and Hurricane Fly, respectively first, 3rd and 4th annually, nevertheless it pivots around Faugheen. Willie Mullinss raider is fancied to extend his record and is unbeaten in eight starts. For all of that, Faugheen has to tackle opponents of the calibre. He’s also powerful over longer trips, so hell almost be ridden to draw the sting. A headlong gallop from flag fall might prove his undoing. Hurricane Fly, his teammate and the 2013 champion, completed a below par 4th last year when fellow Irish comrade Jessica Harringtons Jezki sprang a surprise.
The 11 year olds days are behind him, although the Fly has taken Jezkis step on 3 jousts. He was unlucky twelve months ago when triggered by a faller, however he completed within some two lengths of Jezki. He could select Faugheen under a ride off. Choice: The New One – Worth a punt: Vaniteux – Wednesday, March 11: Betway Queen Mother Champ Chase – The burning question is whether Sprinter Sacre could recapture his best form, wherein case he’ll readily waltz to victory. Which was the result in 2013, since after the majestic specimen has been laid low by a heart irregularity.
Nicky Henderson reports the giant bay that has thrived since his comeback in January. He raced zestfully then, before weakening into second place behind winner coach Paul Nichollss Dodging Bullets, but times passage blunts the blade of every racehorse. Now 9 years old, the former champion seems vulnerable as ante post favorite. Dodging Bullets has progressed all season, but the fact his kind tapered off after Christmas in each one of the last 3 seasons is worrying. Sire De Grugy, Gary Moores reigning champion, has also had free time, but the white faced chestnut, which is a real family effort, won with authority in Chepstow lately and, with the big grey Champagne Fever among those expected to set a searching gallop, the race should set up perfectly for him.
Selection: Sire De Grugy – Worth a punt: Hidden Cyclone – Thursday, March 12: Ladbrokes World Hurdle – Few contests replicate the test of resistance posed by this race, which is the reason it’s thrown up a spate of multiple winners. Nevertheless, the first 2 home last year are absent and the 3rd, At Fishers Cross, has been woefully out of kind. Even though 4th placed Zarkandar will definitely be the protagonist, he looked short of stamina last time. Similar bookings surround Rock on Ruby, the former Champ Hurdler, and Blue Fashion, a lightly raced, but injury prone talent.