Cheltenham

  • 15:20 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle 2m 110y

  • Winner: £
  • Going: Good to Soft (Good in places, Cross Country Good,Good to Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf

Result

  • Weighed In

  • Winning time: 3m 53.90s
  • Off time: 15:20:52
15:20 Cheltenham Racecards
No Draw Dist
1st Binocular (FR) 9/1
2nd Khyber Kim 7/1
3rd Zaynar (FR) 15/2

Racecard

No Form Silk Horse A Wgt Trainer Jockey OR SP
1 113-531 Emerald green, yellow hoops, white cap Binocular (FR) 38
Nag meDistance Winner
6 11-10 N J Henderson A P McCoy 163 9/110.00
2 120-124 white and black (halved), red sleeves and cap Celestial Halo (IRE) 51
Nag meDistance WinnerCourse and Distance Winner
6 11-10 bt P F Nicholls R Walsh 168 7/18.00
3 1-41211 PINK, purple stars, pink sleeves, purple stars on cap Go Native (IRE) 80
Nag meDistance WinnerCourse and Distance Winner
7 11-10 N Meade P Carberry 164 11/43.75
4 211232 Red, white cap Jumbo Rio (IRE) 31
Nag meDistance Winner
5 11-10 E J O'Grady A J Mcnamara 155 50/151.00
5 500-511 Red, Royal Blue chevrons, armlets and star on cap Khyber Kim 94
Nag meDistance WinnerCourse and Distance Winner
8 11-10 N A Twiston-Davies P J Brennan 165 7/18.00
6 125-331 Orange, Black star, Black and Orange striped sleeves Medermit (FR) 52
Nag meDistance Winner
6 11-10 A King R Thornton 164 11/112.00
7 31-2421 Grey, Pink epaulets, quartered cap Punjabi 17
Nag meDistance WinnerCourse and Distance Winner
7 11-10 N J Henderson B J Geraghty 164 15/28.50
8 310-010 Light Green, Dark Green sleeves, Dark Green and Orange striped cap Raise Your Heart (IRE) 12
Nag meDistance Winner
7 11-10 Ms J Morgan J Cullen 137 100/1101.00
9 1-11311 MAUVE, white disc, white cap, mauve spots Solwhit (FR) 51
Nag meDistance Winner
6 11-10 C Byrnes D N Russell 165 6/17.00
10 143-122 NAVY BLUE, GREEN sash, CERISE cap Starluck (IRE) 13
Nag meDistance WinnerCourse and Distance Winner
5 11-10 A Fleming Timmy Murphy 161 14/115.00
11 746511 RED, dark blue chevron, halved sleeves, quartered cap Won In The Dark (IRE) 16
Nag meDistance Winner
6 11-10 Miss S J Harty G Lee 150 40/141.00
12 111-112 ORANGE, BLACK epaulets Zaynar (FR) 26
Nag meBeaten FavouriteCourse WinnerDistance WinnerCourse and Distance Winner
5 11-10 p N J Henderson A Tinkler 168 15/28.50

Verdict

PUNJABI can post back-to-back successes in this race with Solwhit and Celestial Halo the dangers. Nicky Henderson's inmate was a shock victor last term and while this season has been disappointing for his followers, in truth, this race is probably an easier renewal than the Champion Hurdle he won. Connections have spoken of him as a spring horse and if that is the case, he should come on for his victory in an egg-and-spoon race at Kempton. Solwhit meanwhile is one of the most improved horses in training. He should stay the two miles and were he not the subject of a bad scope last week, he would have probably shaded favouritism. Good ground suits. Celestial Halo has a couple of questions to answer though this probable front runner has blinkers on for the first time. As one of the glaring omissions in his CV, Paul Nicholls will be desperate to win a Champion Hurdle. Binocular was favourite for this race last year though has been distinctly unimpressive this season. Muscular problems have been blamed though he has reportedly been in good form on the gallops over the last few weeks. Zaynar has been rejected by Barry Geraghty and that could tell its own tale. He can be forgiven for being turned over at odds of 1/14 on bottomless going at Kelso. Noel Meade has been distinctly downbeat about Go Native and Cheltenham's watering policies. Connections stand on the verge of a £1 million bonus and having taken two key trials, he has every right to the mantle of market leadership. Khyber Kim has been rejuvenated by Nigel Twiston-Davies and much of the credit can go to Paddy Brennan. The pair have a bit to find though have had much better form en route to the big race than most. Medermit won Haydock's Champion Hurdle trial. The yard took this prize previously with Katchit and invariably seem to be underestimated at this grade. Starluck travels well and if staying has to be given a chance. His unorthodox prep saw him win on the Polytrack at Kempton. If Celestial Halo sets the pace at speed, his chance could be compromised. Jumbo Rio, Won In The Dark and Raise Your Heart are predictably trading at big odds and in fairness to the them, that reflects their chances based on anything they have shown at the races. A race where holes can be found in the form of plenty but Punjabi has been there and done that and his experience could count for plenty.