There were a number of top performances to take out of Festival Trials day at Cheltenham on Saturday but it was the stunning success of Grands Crus in the Cleeve Hurdle who really took the eye. The David Pipe horse was going for a hat-trick of wins in the Cleeve Hurdle, and despite pulling hard early on he simply hacked up for Tom Scudamore to win by a big margin from good horses like Restless Harry and Knockara Beau. It was a step up in class for the horse but he looks to have plenty more in the tank making him a serious threat to Big Buck's, the Paul Nicholls horse is going for his third straight win in the race had been many punters Cheltenham Festival banker for the season. However the World Hurdle could now turn into one of the highlights of the Festival with Grands Crus slashed into as short as 5/2 for the race while Big Bucks remains an odds-on favourite for the race.
David Pipe was clearly not too surprised by the run of Grands Crus at Cheltenham having shown plenty at home, and he was quick to say that the Ladbrokes World Hurdle was his next target and they are ready to take on Big Bucks. Punters had feared a World Hurdle procession with Big Bucks winning again this season but this has now set the market alight and it is sure to continue to hot up as we head back to Cheltenham for the Festival in March. As well as Big Buck's and Grands Crus the other main World Hurdle contender looks like being Mourad who has been having an impressive season for Willie Mullins over in Ireland. He was an impressive winner of the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park recently with something in hand so could be open to further improvement, we know he stays the trip which is key at Cheltenham and although he may lack the class of the top two Mourad cannot be ruled out based on his form. The last week has seen the World Hurdle betting ignite with Grands Crus and Mourad staking their claim, and while it is still be hard to bet against Big Bucks at this stage, at least now we look set to have a genuine race to look forward to.