The ante-post betting for the 2011 Champion Hurdle has been the most competitive and most unpredictable of all of the Cheltenham Festival races and that is continuing into the New Year with Hurricane Fly the latest horse to be made favourite. The Willie Mullins horse picked up two very impressive wins in December with his latest win in the Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown particularly impressive. Hurricane Fly was barely off the bridle as he simply cruised to a win with Solwhit once again back in second place behind his great rival in Ireland. There is no doubt that Hurricane Fly is the strongest Champion Hurdle contender from Ireland and the bookmakers agree making him the favourite for the race following that win over the Christmas period. That of course followed his win at Fairyhouse at the start of December in the Hattons Grace Hurdle and he seems to be improving through the season to the delight of connections.
At the moment Hurricane Fly is heading up the ante-post market for the 2011 Champion Hurdle but there is a four-way tussle going on with last season's winner Binocular, Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner Peddlers Cross and International Hurdle winner Menorah also being backed. It is a fascinating tussle for punters to pick over with each horse having genuine claims at this stage as we work our way towards the 2011 Cheltenham Festival. Peddlers Cross won that Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newbury in some style while Binocular ran a poor race back in third, Binocular will be one to watch though as he normally comes to hand in the spring making him hard to ignore. Menorah has been perhaps the most impressive of the British raiders so far this season with wins in the Greatwood and the International Hurdle at Cheltenham to his name. He clearly acts around Prestbury Park which gives him a chance but there are one or two question marks surrounding the quality of those races, leaving Hurricane Fly as the outstanding candidate at this stage.