No ex-Champion Hurdler has won the World Hurdle for 20 years, which is probably something you don’t want to hear if you’re planning on backing Thousand Stars or Oscar Whisky.
However, that statistic is quite skewed as the race has significantly changed in nature since it was moved from the old course to the new, therefore making it less of stamina test.
That should suit the speedier horses, that have the ability to run well in a Champion Hurdle over two miles. Nomadic was the last to do so in 1992 for trainer Barry Hills.
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Seven of the last eight runnings has produced a 1-2-3 for the first five in the betting, suggesting that the markets usually have it spot on and it’s hard for an outsider to compete against the classier horses.
In fact, backing the top five in the market in combination forecasts and tricasts would have made you a substantial profit in recent years and is very much advised again this season.
Willie Mullins will try to become the first Irish trainer to win the World Hurdle since 1995 as he has picked a strong team to take on Big Buck’s this season. Thousand Stars, So Young, Mikael D’Hagueneut and Mourad all will look to dethrone the king but in truth they are probably playing for second place – much like Irish raiders La Coudray, Golden Cross, Bannow Bay and Limestone Lad have achieved in recent years.
Alan King has given one of his young hurdlers an entry in the form of Smad Place but no five year-old has ever won this race as the stamina sapping nature of the race comes just too early in their career.