UNTIL last year Cheltenham punters had become used to seeing Big Bucks go off at a short price for this race and bringing home the bacon.
He was just a year too old last year and was promptly retired and it looked like More of That might be the young pretender to his crown, winning in some style from Annie Power.
More of That is injured this year sadly, along with Rock On Ruby who I backed ante-post (thankfully managed to get non-runner no bet) and a little bit of the glamour has gone for me in this race this year as a result.
Saphir De Reu runs in the same colours as Big Bucks for the same trainer (Paul Nicholls) but his form isn’t anywhere near the same and for me he doesn’t deserve to be favourite or joint favourite for the race.
His form is quite closely matched with Reve De Sivola and although that rival really needs soft or heavy going it doesn’t explain why Reve De Sivola is 4 times the price.
Zarkandar is another one near the head of the market and there is no doubt that some of his form has been decent over the last few years but I wouldn’t trust this one to go to the shops for a loaf and a pint of milk. Every time I back him he seems to run a stinker and when I leave him out he duly bolts up. I’m not having him today so that is perhaps a surefire sign for the rest of you to lump on!
3.20 – Ladbrokes World Hurdle
– 3 miles
– Hurdles race
– Often attracts horses with stamina who didn’t cut the mustard as chasers
– Dominated by Big Bucks for 4 years in a row until injury ruled him out in 2013 and he returned to finish 5th last year before being retired.
– Won last year by More of That (injured this time)
– Ante-post favourites have been dropping like flies
Each way Selection: Whisper
If Rock on Ruby and More of That were running I would probably have come to the conclusion that this lad didn’t quite have the class to win but in their absence I don’t think there is much depth to the filed and the 9-1 on offer is seriously tempting as an each-way prospect. Whisper had a fabulous win last year in the Coral Cup and although his form this season hasn’t been scintillating Barry Geraghty suggested on the morning line on Wednesday that he had been working really well. The better weather combined with his ideal ground might bring out the best in him.