Champion Hurdle Cheltenham Tues
Such is the dominance of Hurricane Fly in the cheltenham tips markets for the Champion Hurdle there will be plenty of people looking for alternatives bets at longer odds to strike on the race, according to a William Hill spokesman.
Markets will be made available regarding betting without Hurricane Fly, which is tricky enough in itself with not much between the challengers behind the well-backed jolly.
But there is a strong bet lurking regarding those protagonists, and it involves the two of the four Paul Nicholls runners. It seems the markets have favoured the chances of five-year-old Zarkandar, who is currently a 6/1 shot over that of stablemate Rock On Ruby, whose price was at one point 14/1 at the start of March but has contracted into a 10/1 poke now.
Many people have noted the difference in prices and have acted by backing Rock On Ruby, mostly each-way. But with Hurricane Fly looking so dominate, half of any each way bet you place goes down the drain as it’s very unlikely the Fly will be beaten.
What looks a more fruitful way of securing a larger return for your investment would be backing Rock On Ruby to beat Zarkandar in a match-bet. All you need to happen is Rock On Ruby to beat Zarkandar home, no matter where or what position they finish in or whether or not they are behind or in front Hurricane Fly.
On strictly form purposes there should be no reason why Zarkandar is shorter Rock On Ruby in the betting. Take for instance both their respective runs first time out this season in two different Newbury handicaps run over the same distance and on the same ground.
Rock On Ruby landed the Gerry Feilden Hurdle in impressive fashion, and beat Alan King’s Raya’s Star by 10 and a half lengths carrying 13lbs more in the handicap. Zarkandar on the other hand won the Betfair Hurdle in workmanlike fashion, and only beat Raya Star by one and a quarter lengths, carrying 11lbs more. This gives Rock On Ruby at least 10 lengths on official figures.
True, Zarkandar was found to be suffering with the stable virus that infected Nicholls’ yard, but 10 lengths is a huge amount of distance to make up.
Zarkandar, who won the Truimph Hurdle last season – on to that in a jiffy, has an extremely appealing profile and is likely to improve, but his price for this race is more based around hype and potential rather than what we have seen on a racecourse.
Rock On Ruby on the other hand is two years older than his stablemate, therefore physically stronger, and, arguably, his most recent narrow defeat to Binocular is a stronger line of form than of what Zarkandar brings to the table.
Additionally, only one five-year-old (Katchit 2008) has won the Champion from the last 87 to go to post. They don’t seem to be mature or experienced enough for the hustle and bustle of a Champion Hurdle.
Kribensis, who went off 11/8 favourite in 1989, finished seventh but went on to win the next year – Zarkandar looks likely to take a similar path.
Take advantage of this by backing his rather underrated stablemate to beat him home.
Advice – 4pts win on Rock On Ruby to beat Zarkandar in match-bet. (Match-bet prices will be available on the day from all the top bookmakers – Rock On Ruby should be around 5/4 at least to beat Zarkandar)