We are no only a matter of days away from the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday and at the latest stage we have 12 horses left in the race. The list of names is headed by hot favourite and defending champion Hurricane Fly who will be taking his chance for Willie Mullins. The Irish Champion Hurdle winner is considered one of the best hurdlers of his generation and most expect him to have too much for the field in the big race next week. The first day of the Festival is always one of the highlights of the racing calendar and this year will be no different with the Champion Hurdle taking centre stage once again. The bookmakers are convinced Hurricane Fly will take all the beating and on form it is hard to argue with that assessment. He has had just the one race this season which was that Irish Champion Hurdle win at Leopardstown as he slammed a good field with Ruby Walsh motionless on board the winner.
There are one or two horses who are being backed to take on and challenge Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle with the exciting Zarkandar chief among them. The Triumph Hurdle winner from last season is highly regarded and he too has just the one run under his belt this season. We saw the Paul Nicholls horse winning the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last month which is always a difficult race, he clearly needed the run that day and is expected to improve again at Cheltenham. Another interesting entry at this stage is Binocular who will be bidding to win the Champion Hurdle for the second time. The Nicky Henderson horse won the race in great style back in 2010 and after a string of below par performances he now looks to be returning to somewhere near his best. Binocular hacked up last time out at Wincanton and there are those that believe a 100% fit Binocular will run Hurricane Fly very close at Cheltenham. The Champion Hurdle is shaping up to be a cracking renewal this season with the defending champ set to go up against another former winner and a young upstart who could be anything.