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  1. #1
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    Champion Hurdle 2019

    It may be July but that doesn't mean I'm any less excited for the 2019 festival so I thought why not take on the Champion Hurdle thread opening. Tough to do following on from Kevs great write ups! Now I know how Harry Kane must've felt the other day during the shootout vs Colombia with the nerves!

    So without further ado, the odds for the Champion Hurdle 2019 as of 9th July 2018:

    Buveur D'Air - 7/2
    Melon - 8/1 -
    Samcro - 8/1
    Laurina - 14/1
    Min - 16/1
    Summerville Boy - 16/1
    Supasundae - 20/1
    Faugheen - 25/1
    We Have A Dream - 25/1
    Yorkhill - 25/1
    Coquin Mans - 33/1
    Global Citizen - 33/1
    Mick Jazz – 33/1
    Farclas - 40/1
    Getabird - 40/1
    Redicean - 40/1
    Saldier - 40/1
    Mr Adjudicator - 50/1
    Apple's Shakira - 50/1
    Brain Power – 50/1
    If The Cap Fits - 50/1

    There is no better place to start then the reigning double champion, Buveur D'Air. Now I am a big fan of him I think he is just so classy over the hurdles and he's proven that he can handle any type of ground. It's a big ask to win three in a row so do I honestly think he can emulate greats like Istabraq? You know what I kind of think he could, he's beaten the contenders off for two years in a row now, and I think you would be foolish to rule him out. My main concern with him would be his preparation doesn't exactly test him over here in the UK so whether he may turn up slightly rusty and not fully primed, but that could also work in his favour and stop him being worn out by tough match-ups! I get that with odds at 7/2 it could put people off for an antepost bet but I think he's certainly worth having onside even if it's just in a multiple (As a slight side note I have him in a trixie with Penhill for Stayers & Percy for the GC), besides you can't really turn your nose up at a double festival champion!

    Next up is an interesting horse at 8/1, Melon. I often have very conflicting thoughts on him however I was impressed with his performance in last year's race and he wasn't too far off to be fair! I think there is a real chance he could come on even further considering he is still only 6 and with course form of 232 he's always one to bear in mind. I'd be interested to see him on good ground over here as he hasn't raced in UK or Ireland on anything classed as good so I wonder if that might just give him that edge that I almost feel is missing at times. Considering how I do actually like him and feel positive about him I have to admit that personally at 8/1 I don't currently feel like there is enough value for me to back at the moment. As I said I often have conflicting views on him and there's just something that holds me back from doing it, sometimes you just have to go with the gut feeling I suppose, even if this comment comes back to haunt me come March! That being said, I certainly couldn't put others off backing him as he certainly ticks plenty of boxes!

    These next three in the market to me make sense to group together, Samcro, Laurina & Min. There is obviously value here if they turn up, infact it is disgusting good value if they were to turn up! Right now though I just cannot see any of them racing here. I reckon we will see Samcro go chasing however as with Melon, if you can see a world where he comes here absolutely dive on that 8s because that won't be around for long if that happens! As for Laurina I think she may well go chasing as mentioned, but if she was to stick around on hurdles I think she would go the Mares Hurdle as it would likely be a penalty kick and at the moment seems like a free win. Min could well turn up here to be honest, we all know how Willie likes to shuffle it about but again right now I'm just not sure I could back for this race specifically this far out for him!

    Summerville Boy is certainly someone who looked impressive in winning a strange Supreme this year. He is fairly unexposed when you look at the number of races he has been involved in so there is no reason why there is not more to come and he is definitely at an attractive price of 16/1. Whilst that price does tempt me in I do have a slight concern in that he has not really raced on better ground other than his maiden at Stratford, so he could well be one who benefited from the poor weather this year! I think it will be interesting how he starts the season out of novice company and that could be what I wait for until I go in backing him.

    Supasundae has of course already won at the Festival before with the Coral Cup. I'm a fan of this horse and think better ground would've helped him out this year in the Stayers. I don't think I would look to back him in this as I don't see him dropping the target to 2 miles.

    So a big fan's favourite up next, Faugheen. Obviously a very classy horse and at first glance 25s may look a bit large but in reality, it's fair. I think he's now at a stage where he would struggle to contend over 2 miles and I expect him to turn up at the Stayers next year especially after that performance at Punchestown. There is also all the comments around him potentially going chasing, would certainly be interesting to see a 10 year-old Faugheen running around with the novices but I do think the Stayers is the more sensible and likely option for him in 2019. That being said, what a fantastic story it would be if he won this next year, stranger things have happened in sport (something I'm well aware of being a fan of Leicester City!) however I just really cannot see it at all.

    At his right place in the market next is We Have A Dream. Five wins from 5 last season as a juvenile and some of them were excellent, all across a variety of surfaces, for me he is comfortably the best juvenile of the season in England, and I think he is up there when you include our friends across the Irish Sea. Two of his British juvenile rivals were of course Redicean & Apple's Shakira, both of which I could not see causing an issue for many here and I would expect Shakira to end up potentially in the Mares race if she was to stay over hurdles. Saldier, Farclas & Mr Adjudicator are the Irish juvenile raiders listed by bookies and I have to admit I wouldn't be partial to any of them. If I had to pick one I would likely go Mr Adjudicator, in some circumstance I highly value sectional times and I think he clocks in well fairly regularly and 50s is always a nice price. The issue with these is also that we don't know really who will be chasing and who will stay over hurdles. As much as I fell in love with WHAD a dream last year I would have to avoid all the juveniles this early on as it's not really a happy hunting ground for 5-year olds in recent years, however would love to be proven wrong early next year. Besides we all saw Defi Du Seuil's dominance at juvenile level that couldn't quite translate this year.

    So the big question of 2017/18 next; how do you solve a problem like Yorkhill? Well it's not the Champion Hurdle that's for sure. I have been backing him off a cliff this season as I can't help but think his spark will just come back from nowhere each race, quite the contrary in reality. Personally, I think he needs Two and a half miles and over fences, especially considering he is a dual festival winner off the mid distances. I suppose Willie Mullins also faces a decision with Getabird and chasing, we are likely to see him chasing surely but who knows with a good old game of Willie Bingo, so I wouldn't be backing him here. But hypothetically if he came on better ground he could cause some problems although I am part of the "can he actually do it left-handed?" brigade still if I am being completely honest. Another of WM's up in the betting is Coquin Mans this view is short and sweet I think he just doesn't have enough in the locker if I am being honest, I probably need to have more of a watch of his runs last season but the few I did see didn't blow me away!

    One horse who seemed to receive a lot of hype ahead of the Novice Hurdle at Aintree, was Global Citizen something that he failed to live up too. For me so far he hasn't been really tested and shown the quality. It was an okay field at Aintree but he struggled in that race, to be fair it wasn't the nicest of conditions. He won in some style at Kempton in the Dovecote but I wouldn't say the field was jam packed full of the high-quality novice hurdlers. As for Mick Jazz, another one who you may question the quality, but the heart is certainly there for me, he plugged away well for his 3rd in this last season. Has interesting form almost always like a best of the rest horse and will always be around the places it seems, I could understand why people might back him, not for me but I can certainly understand but realistically this big price stays around for a while!

    Right so we are nearly there two more left both at 50/1 so you might think not really worth it but I have to admit one certainly interests me. First up there is If The Cap Fits who was probably to a lot, me included, Britain's best prospect on paper for last year's Supreme. Won all 3 of his novice hurdles and won them all in style, whether this could translate against the big boys who knows but as eluded too earlier I do sometimes value sectional stats and I know ITCF came out very well in these. I think at this price it could be worth a point e/w at such high odds, but it is certainly a big guessing game right now. The other big priced outsider is Brain Power who has of course been chasing the past year but with his questionable jumping leading to form of 1UF2F I would not be surprised to see him back over hurdles anytime soon, he's certainly got pace early on but I haven't ever really seen him prove that it can last and with his three course runs seeing him come no closer than 14 lengths to a winner there is enough to suggest the infamous hill we all love so much has the edge on him.

    My current book only has the D'air trixie mentioned (2pts) & ITCF (0.5pts e/w) in, but I must admit I am eyeing up Summerville Boy, WHAD & having my constant internal mental battle over whether I like Melon enough to back this far out!

    Well that is enough of my rambling hopefully I haven't bored you too much one things for certain the season can’t come around soon enough! I imagine everything I have put here will make me look like an absolute tool come March when the glorious Labaik comes from 25L behind to win at a canter, but hey that's why we love it!

  2. #2
    I don’t have much to add to the thread on a betting standpoint other than to say what a great write up you’ve done. Much appreciated.

  3. #3
    Great write up NR. They are very similar thoughts to mine at this early stage.

    So far I have:

    5pts on Buveur D'air @ 7/2
    0.5pt Buveur D'air / Tiger Roll (2018 GN) 93.5/1
    1.5pt Samcro 8/1

  4. #4
    Senior Member Istabraq's Avatar
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    I'm coming round to the idea that the Supreme could have been a hot renewal, I often look at deep ground form and question how good it really is and that looks to be the only explanation why Summerville Boy is 16/1, I wouldn't be surprised if those down to 6th were to record G1 wins next season.
    Buveur D'Air looks the obvious fav right now, but I think he'll have a fight on his hands to retain his crown....

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kevloaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Native River View Post
    It may be July but that doesn't mean I'm any less excited for the 2019 festival so I thought why not take on the Champion Hurdle thread opening. Tough to do following on from Kevs great write ups! Now I know how Harry Kane must've felt the other day during the shootout vs Colombia with the nerves!
    Nerves of steel, penalty smashed into the top corner. Very good opening post, thank NR.

    I persoanlly haven't had any points on this race in singles yet. I've had free bets on Min at 14/1, Laurina at 12/1 and now If The Cap Fits at 40/1 and for the first two that is because I don't expect them to run.

    I'm almost completely ruling out Samcro from my mind, as I don't think he'll be running and will probably be against him at the price if he is declared as staying over hurdles because I think he'd be made shorter than the dual-winner which wouldn't be right at this stage.

    My idea of the winner is 'unoriginally' Buveur D'air, and can see why FM has already invested 5 pts. I'm quite close to taking the 7/2 with WH myself although don't think his price will be changing in the next two months although I might wait and see how Summerville Boy and anything from the Mullins yard start the season... I have a feeling BVD will hit 4/1 again (a little like las tyear when Faugheen won and WH pushed BVD from 4/1 to 5/1) - BVD doesn't seem to be a public horse despite the colours and I'll be looking to go against the tide if his price drifts. I'm almost hoping he gets a fright from something like Summerville Boy in one of the early season trials and people start looking at the up-and-comers. Maybe wishful thinking at this stage, but July is the best time for wishful thinking rather than calculated betting.

  6. #6
    Great write up. Makes depressing reading though as once again it reminds me that we have a dearth of high class 2m hurdlers at the moment. There really doesn’t look to be a lot to challenge BDA (if Samcro and Laurina go elsewhere as they surely will)

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all nice comments on the write-up, much appreciated!

    Looks like we are all in the same boat really with BDA being the real stand out quality but I have to agree with what others have said, writing this up made me realise that there is a real lack of high-class 2m hurdlers around at the present!

  8. #8
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    Smashed it N.R , Great write up , !!!. Basically , 3 in it for me , 1- Buveur D'air . been there done that , the one to beat.
    2 - Melon . Came close last year , Could improve , will do well
    to beat B.D, but not out of the question........ 3 - Summerville boy. new kid on the block . .maybe .
    Agree about I.T.C.F also but the first three for me at this stage ..
    first two in quite a few multiples already, and a decent bet on Melon .

  9. #9
    Senior Member SeanRock's Avatar
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    Superb write up NR. I'd be inclined to side with Summerville Boy at this stage i feel he'd have won the supreme by at least 5 lengths had he not blundered two of the last few hurdles. Tom George is also on record saying he'd be more suited to good ground as he has a good action and just needs a good even pace set to be seen at his best which he should get in a CH.

    Plenty of schooling over the small obstacles needed over the summer however.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kevloaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanRock View Post
    Superb write up NR. I'd be inclined to side with Summerville Boy at this stage i feel he'd have won the supreme by at least 5 lengths had he not blundered two of the last few hurdles. Tom George is also on record saying he'd be more suited to good ground as he has a good action and just needs a good even pace set to be seen at his best which he should get in a CH.

    Plenty of schooling over the small obstacles needed over the summer however.
    I hadn't seen any quotes to that effect - he's only raced once with good in the going and that was on debut for the yard and you can't blame the defeat on that if you take the form literally because he's ended the season about 34 lbs higher according to RPRs.

    How do you feel about Tom George and how accurate/unbiased he is? I can't think of enough examples to have a strong opinion either way but I am intreagued at this.

    Summerville Boys two main negatives would be (Needs Cut in the Ground) and (Can't hurdle very well) ... the latter is easily dealt with and I imagine is being done over the summer - his technique is something I'll be looking at FTO this year.... and therefore isn't a major concern.

    The former, if the trainersz comments CAN be believed, may not be a concern, making his current odds well worth investing in.

    Not going to do anything yet and unfortunately not a good enouigh judge myself of a horses action to watch back the replays and tell hopw ground dependant he is/isn't!

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