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  1. #1
    Senior Member Kevloaf's Avatar
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    2018 Champion Hurdle

    A friend of mine was at the races last weekend and bumped in to Matt Chapman... in an attempt to get some coversation going he asked what his best bet for Cheltenham was... MC replied "FAUGHEEN - He will be back, mark my words" ... can't think of a better reason to start this seasons Champion Hurdle thread than that!

    Market currently (best prices - non exchange) 6th September 2017

    4/1 - Buveur D'air
    8/1 - Defi Du Seuil
    10/1 - Faugheen
    12/1 - Yorkhill
    20/1 - Apples Jade
    20/1 - Limini
    20/1 - Labaik
    25/1 - Melon
    25/1 - Wicklow Brave
    33/1 - Charli Parcs
    33/1 - Arctic Fire
    33/1 - Let's Dance
    50/1 - Pingshou
    50/1 - John Constable
    50/1 - Vroum Vroum Mag
    50/1 - My Tent Or Yours
    66/1 - Master Blueyes
    100/1 - Jenkins

    I've taken out the ones that we 'know' are novice chasing/chasing (Yanworth, Petit Mouchoir, Min, River Wylde, Ballyandy) from the list.

    The best place to start is obviously last years winner, Buveur D'air. A lot of love for this horse on the forum and rightly so and hasn't been beaten since losing to Altior in that hot-looking Supreme in 2016! A bloodless victory against Rayvin Black after aborting a novice chase campaign did NOT have me purring before Cheltenham last year but in no uncertain terms I was wrong. I've watched the race back 20 odd times at least and he has absolutely hacked up, in the style of a horse much better than anything it was up against. At Aintree it was just as impressive and MTOY gives us such a reliable guide/tool to use to judge the form by in my opinion, with an added bonus of previous CH's). I still think 4/1 is too big considering he has been there, done that.

    Now the same can technically be said about Faugheen. He has been there and done it. I love Faugheen. I do think on his day, (and in particular the Irish Champion Hurdle) is as good a performance as I've seen from a 2 mile hurdler. HOWEVER, having lost a FORTUNE ante-post the year Annie Power won, and him not making it on to the race course my head is very much telling me that Faugheen is an absolute ZERO pts job until NRNB is available. I have come to terms with the fact that if Faugheen does 'come back', and does still have the ability, then he'll be too short and at that point, I might be able to leave him alone. The cold and harsh reality, is that the horse will have missed a season and a half and would need to retain ALL his ability to have any sort of advantage on what we know at this stage. Part of me would love to have a secret few pts at 10/1 just in case but at this stage I am strong enough.... despite the musings of Mr Chapman!

    As I've mentioned one Mullins horse, I might as well do them all. Let's start with the ones that we KNOW are being aimed at the race... (Min, Limini, VVM, Yorkhill, Melon, WickBrave, ArcFire, Cilaos Emery) - hahaha - just realised that literally not one of them do we KNOW that this is the target. Sums up the perils! Briefly then, I'd be mad keen on the chances of Yorkhill but that may be because I have 2 pts at 20's and you don't get that price about many dual festival winners. His Neptune win alone would give me enough to be encouraged about however (as much as I'd enjoy the debate that has already been touched upon - I know jono in particular wants to see him remain over a fence), we might as well wait a month and see!
    Min would have to be in calculations as he finished ahead of BVD in the Supreme before going chasing, however Mullins has said Chasing is Min's aim so he is a no-go. Limini, VVM, Let's Dance all aren't good enough on what I've seen especially when they have a mares race over 2m4f to aim at. I do like WB and AF BUT WB wasn't good enough last season (well beaten 22/1 8th). Arctic Fireobviously has the 2nd to Faugheen in the book and a win in the County Hurdle from top weight, and I could be tempted actually to part with a point on that... MTOY has done no harm for older horses placing in the race. I'll see what people think?
    Cilaos Emery and Melon - my usual thoughts when there is no standout horse, and when horses keep beating each other, is that they overall aren't that good a bunch. That'd put me off ANY of the novice hurdlers last season, (even Labaik who is impossible to back ante-post anyway). That is a fairly general statement and I;ll go in to more detail on another post at a later date BUT I will say, the confidence behind Melon being "the best of ours" as Ruby admitted at the festival is worth a second glance. I was disappointed he got turned over at the end of the season in Ireland but he was battling from quite a way out with Pingshou and he beat him off, just got caught and passed late...and Pingshou is no slouch having won at Aintree before-hand. Mullins has said Melon could well be the CH horse this season (posted elsewhere on the forum) AND I specifically remember the quotes from before Cheltenham last year where Mullins said they bought Melon with a view to him being a Champion Hurdler, but he did look like he had scope for a fence. I do think 25/1 for Melon is a pretty fair price for a gamble on him being Ruby's mount! Obviously not wishing Faugheen any bad luck but if Faugheen does get ruled out, 2nd in the Supreme and very lightly raced he does sort of look the only unexposed angle I can really see for connections? I had had 1 pt E/W on Melon at 25s.

    At the top of the market, the one I've not mentioned yet is Defi Du Seuil. He'll get hammered most of the season for being a 5yo and I am in that camp (sorry). I think he clearly proved to be the best, most battle hardened 4yo last season but until I see him compete I Will be dubious. I'd actually like the odds of Charli Parcs at 33s compared to DDS but in terms of what DDS has done it is very very very hard to knock. 5 wins at Cheltenham I think and that is without a doubt enough to go on to anyones shortlist! Too short for me by MILES at 8/1 at this stage but I Will keep an open mind and am prepared to take in new evidence!

    Some better minds than mine have made cases for John Constable so I'll let them re-post/elaborate if they so desire....Pingshou probably isn't suited to Cheltenham, Apples Jade has the option of the softer race to defend and probably more likely to go UP in trip than down and that leaves.... the NAP - JENKINS. Kidding of course.

    My CH book so far:
    Yorkhill - 20/1 - 1 pt E/W + 5 pt win any race @ 6/1
    Melon - 25/1 - 1 pt E/w + 1pt win
    Charli Parcs 33/1 - 0.5 pt E/W
    Buveur D'air - 4/1 - 2 pts win
    PLUS BVD in 20 pts of Trixies/Yankee's

  2. #2
    Good work Kev, and an enjoyable read!

    My Champion Hurdle book is similar:

    Melon 25/1, 0.5pt EW
    Charli Parcs 33/1, 1pt win
    Buveur D'air 4/1, 9pts win

    As with Kev, BVD forms the backbone of my multiple bets for another 10pts

  3. #3
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    Great post Kev - very thorough!
    Can't disagree with you on much of that.

    I've been chipping away at Buveur D'air and currently have 9pts on (mix of 4/1 and 7/2)
    (and 1pt in a multiple)

    I also feel that Arctic Fire is well over-priced. His 2nd to Faugheen AND that run in the County off of top-weight without a run in over a year, has to be admired. Whether he can win this is another matter, but I've had 2pts @ 33/1.

    I've also had 1pt on Melon @ 20/1.

    Like you, I can't have a 5 yr old winning the Champion Hurdle. Yes it has happened before and yes, it will probably happen again - but a Stat that I'm happy to stick with.

  4. #4
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    Great post Kev, Can matt Chapman really be serious !.
    I guess like a lot of other people I,m in deep with Buveur d'air , and I keep finding the 25-1 for Melon too tempting !.
    Also got Defi in a few L.15's and Cilaos emery, But it's got to be Buveur da'ir again hasn't it .

  5. #5
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    Faugheen price certainly coming in for Champion and surprisingly world hurdle , must be Chappers article lol.
    Seems upbeat bulletins coming out of yard for The Machine Faugheen , though it wouldnt entirely surprise me World Hurdle comes into consideration especially if he gets turned over early part of season.

    Will he retain his speed?

    My favourite horse in training so if he back to hid brilliant best , nothing will get near him imo.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jono's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum Beast. I can see the idea behind backing Faugheen for the World Hurdle.
    There's question marks over whether he can

    A. get back on the track (as we heard these same vibes last year as the months went on,
    B. retain his ability and like you say...
    C. retain his speed.

    Almost 2 years off the track and soon to be 10 years old means surely at least some of that speed has to have gone? We know he stays 3 miles and last year (albeit with Annie Power around at the time) it was talked about as a possibility and they may just find they are forced down that route

    The prices are certainly tempting for him I can see why people may be tempted to have a small saver on him 'just incase' but it will be a huge training performance to get Faugheen back, and i'm struggling to see it myself, at least to win another Champion hurdle.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Istabraq's Avatar
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    Last horse older than 9 to win a champion hurdle ? Sea Pigeon, 1981.
    That said, a horse who has only seen a racecourse 13 times has less miles on the clock than most 10yo so if there is to be trendbuster perhaps Faugheen is it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kevloaf's Avatar
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    I backed Faugheen for the stayers hurdle ante post at the start of last season at 10/1, with the thinking that Annie Power would defend her crown and they'll get split up. It was unlikely still that season and they never mentioned the stayers and this season they don't have an 'Annie Power' for the race. I think if Faugheen gets to Cheltenham he will ONLY go for the Champion Hurdle. If he does get beaten and doesn't have the speed then I suppose it becomes a bit more of a possbility but he'll be being 'aimed' at the festival, so even a defeat on return will be forgiven?

    If Faugheen got beaten in the Morgiana, then got beaten by one of the British CH contenders in the Christmas hurdle, that is the ONLY way I can see them changing target, and at 8/1 for the stayers that is one of the worst prices I have seen with that being the case? Unless I am missing something?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Kevloaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Istabraq View Post
    Last horse older than 9 to win a champion hurdle ? Sea Pigeon, 1981.
    That said, a horse who has only seen a racecourse 13 times has less miles on the clock than most 10yo so if there is to be trendbuster perhaps Faugheen is it.
    At least he deserves to be mentioned in the same sentance as Sea Pigeon!

  10. #10
    Senior Member mayo's Avatar
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    Kev

    Melon the only thing I can see any value in at the moment,

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