With the Cheltenham Festival coming up in March, bettors and racing fans are looking ahead to the Champion Hurdle, one of the defining meetings of the four day tournament.
Honeysuckle, last year’s winner which stormed to success ridden by the soon-to-be Grand National champion Rachael Blackmore, and many anticipate the horse to repeat its victory this year with odds of 8/11.
However, a 24 length winner at the Supreme Novice Hurdle in 2021, second favourite Appreciate It has a strong form and has seen its odds slashed to 6/1 with some bookmakers – something Vincent Finegan of IrishRacing.com believes is entirely justified.
He explained: “When you look at the Champion Hurdle, or have looked at it after Honeysuckle had increased unbeaten run to 13 – which she won at Fairyhouse back in September – there looked to be no second favourite, there was no opposition to her.All of a sudden, what has come out of the woodwork is Appreciate It.”
It can be expected that the majority of punters will put their faith in Honeysuckle once again, which given the odds would not be a terrible situation for bookmakers due to the lower payout required.
However, should Finegan’s views be proven correct, the bookies could be looking at a heavier payout should Appreciate it clinch victory, or even secure a place to win some bettors an each way flutter.
Although respecting his co-host’s opinion and acknowledging It’s prowess on the track, Ed ‘ Longshot Ted’ Quigley continues to see very little fault in Hockeysuckle’s form, predicting that the horse could potentially not run in the Champion Hurdle.
“I get where Vicnent is coming from, but the worry is it has now been 10 months since we have seen Appreciate It,” he remarked.
If he’s going to make the Champion Hurdle,he’s not ended up anywhere so he’s really got eight weeks to make the Champion Hurdle and they’re going to have to get a prep run into him.
“You’d imagine that would be the Dublin Racing Festival, if they shorten their sights. I’d probably want a Non-Runner, No Bet provider and perhaps take a couple of points shorter, because when looking through it I can see this cutting up into a six or seven runner race.”