Champion Hurdle Preview & Tips – Cheltenham 2018
Brace yourself. We’ve got some unusually heavy ground at Cheltenham this week and surprises will be aplenty.
Bravery starts in the Champion Hurdle
This most certainly looks set to be a week where searching out value is going to be vital. To be fair to Buveur D’Air he has done little wrong only taken on poor opposition and beating them as you would expect him to do so.
Not many horses win two Champion Hurdles and now we have an odds on favourite who could be about to join an elite group.
However, at his price of 1/2, Buveur D’Air isn’t an appealing betting proposition but the question is, what is? Wicklow Brave may hold the answer.
Faugheen would be an incredible result. Cheekpieces are tried for the first time, but in truth, on his last run it would be hard to believe that they’d bring about enough improvement for him to beat Buveur D’Air.
At his best, this would be a hell of a race and if any man can get Faugheen back to his Morgiana Hurdle form of earlier in the year, it is Mullins, but again, surely he should be more than a 6/1 shot.
Paul Townend has opted for Melon which automatically makes him the second preference of Closutton, and Yorkhill once had the ability to eat most of these horses up but it doesn’t look like he’s going to show us his best again anytime soon.
My Tent Or Yours is an admirable horse but he so often finds one too good, Elgin was supplemented but it looks like his owners just have too much money, while the rest of the field are all clutching at straws in the hope that they’ll pick up a good cheque.
Braver than anyone
However, Wicklow Brave is interesting.
He won a County Hurdle here on a day when the ground was becoming increasingly testing so that shouldn’t be a major issue.
He is a high class flat performer who complimented those efforts on the level by winning the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle at Punchestown last April, and Patrick Mullins knows him better than anyone.
A look back on his run in the race last year when only beaten 14-lengths was encouraging as he gave plenty of ground away at the start and finished well.
That is a quirk which is far from ideal and Punchestown was his last run on the flat before he began a flat campaign which ended in a decent run in the Melbourne Cup, but when it comes to value in the Champion Hurdle, Wicklow Brave looks to be it.
Wicklow Brave E/W (14/1) – Champion Hurdle, 3.30 Cheltenham
*Prices correct at time of publication