Saturday, 13 March 2010

Cheltenham 2010: Ladbrokes World Hurdle

The Ladbrokes World Hurdle is run on Cheltenham’s New Course, over a distance of three miles, featuring twelve hurdles. Horses aged four or older can take part and this year’s hot favourite (best price on offer 8/13, from William Hill and SportingBet) is the defending champion, the Paul Nicholls trained Big Buck’s (see right).

There are sixteen hopefuls lined up for this year’s World Hurdle, but that number can be halved if we look at the last time out form of the last ten winners of the race. By last ten winners, I am going back to 1996 – Inglis Drever and Baracouda won the race five years out of the last ten, so I’m just looking at their stats for the first time they won the World Hurdle. But yeah, looking at LTO form for the last ten winners, eight had finished in the first two and four from the last five were LTO winners.

No five year old has won the World Hurdle and only one horse older than nine has achieved the feat. Nine year olds don’t have a great record, with only four winners in the last 35 years and two of those were repeat winners. Eight year olds don’t fare much better, with five winners in thirty years; two of those were repeat winners too. It looks like six and seven year olds are best placed to make a challenge to Big Buck’s then.

Time For Rupert (left) and Karabak are the only two that adhere to the above profile (though Big Buck’s himself also fits the bill).

Of the two, Karabak would tempt me the most, in terms of a potential winner. My pick for last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, the bay gelding finished second in that race. Although none of the last ten World Hurdle winners had any winning Cheltenham Festival form (again, not including the repeat winners, who obviously did) six of them had placed at a previous Festival, five of those finishing in second place.

Karabak (left) is yet to score over three miles, unlike Time For Rupert, but half of the last ten winners had also never won over three miles prior to their first World Hurdle win, so I don’t see that as a massive problem. He dug in well and stuck on gamely after messing up the final hurdle in the rescheduled Long Walk, suggesting that he gets the trip and is up for the challenge. In truth, he’s probably still progressing. Whether he can progress enough to beat Big Buck’s, I’m not sure, but at a best price 15/2 (Coral, e/w terms first three, a quarter the odds) it really does look like an each way bet to nothing.

In terms of value, Time For Rupert (right) looks a nice bet too. The best price 20/1 (widely available) looks insulting for a horse than has winning course and distance form, appears to act on all types of ground, is being targeted solely at this race and that ran second in the Cleeve Hurdle, giving the winner 4lbs in the process. This is surely overpriced and Coral’s 14/1 seems a lot nearer the mark.

I have to say, Big Buck’s does look the most likely winner of the race. The World Hurdle has thrown up five repeat winners in the last ten years and this year’s hot favourite has all the form in the book and rightly heads the market. For the casual punter though, 8/13 is no fun, so I’d fancy taking it on with both Time For Rupert and Karabak. As previously mentioned, the latter seems a genuine bet to nothing and the former seems insultingly overpriced.

Hell, why not thrown in a cheeky combination tricast, just for fun?

The World Hurdle sponsors are offering a £25 free bet to all new accounts - why not sign up and take advantage of the offer to back Karabak?

Ladbrokes World Hurdle
Thursday 18th March, 15.20
Karabak 2.5pts e/w

Time For Rupert 0.5 pts e/w


Paul said...

Loving these Cheltenham write-ups Dom...and i think there's three odds on shots that can't really be opposed but can't be supported too heavily either...Karabak, Kalahari King, and Imperial Commander would appear to be the sensible each way options in those races i reckon

moDtheGod said...

I haven't had a proper look at the QMCC yet, but I'm quite sure I'd side with Kalahari King too.

A brave man opposes Kauto Star.

moDtheGod said...

Sick. Karabak a half length off a place.

Still, Time For Rupert ran a blinder to limit the damage.