We Are The Champions – but for how long?
So now we are less than a week away from Cheltenham 2015, I think it would be an opportune time to take a look at the horses who are the current champions and rate their chances of retaining their crowns.
Today we shall take a look at:
Tuesday – Champion Hurdle – Reigning Champion – Jezki
Jezki beat the smallest field for 30 years when winning the hurdling crown for the first time last season. This season he faces 1 fewer runner so does that make his chance easier? Well numerically, yes it does, but there is a lot of quality facing him again. Faugheen looks a smooth operator, The New One will be out for revenge after last season’s near miss and the ageing but still top level Hurricane Fly will surely have something to say too. The other 4 are more likely making up the numbers, although they are decent enough performers in their own right.
Last season, there were plenty of people who claimed that The New One deserved to win after being hampered by the fall of Our Connor, and clearly there is merit to that, but it is not a given. He has been campaigned with this day in mind all season though and that lauds well for his chances. To my eye, he has improved this season and we know he loves the hill, so he looks set to run a big race.
Faugheen was imperious in winning the Neptune in 2014 and has slain every adversary, who has stepped into the ring with him, with ease. But therein lies a problem, he has never faced a serious battle in his life and we do not know how he will respond. Surely if Mullins and Walsh thought he was the real deal, then Hurricane Fly at 11 years of age would be staying at home.
Only 2 horses have ever won, lost and won the Champion Hurdle again, Comedy of Errors in the 1970s and Hurricane Fly 2 years ago. But can we seriously think that he has the power away from his beloved Leopardstown to regain it again? I don’t think he can.
So what about Jezki. After winning here, he vanquished Hurricane Fly at Punchestown to round off a great end to the season. This season it has been a case of chasing Hurricane’s tail, but that fate has befallen many a good horse over the seasons. What we do know about Jezki is that he can bring his A-game to the biggest day, he loves a battle up the hill and this time around he will be part of the A P McCoy fariytale.
Unless ground conditions deteriorate over the weekend, then the going will be similar to last seasons, a day Jezki was victorious.
At this moment he rates as an excellent chance to retain his crown.
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