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Saturday, December 15, 2007


Cheltenham, Saturday, December 15, 2007

3.10pm £200,000 Boylesports.com International Hurdle (Grade Two), 2m 1f


for the best odds go to www.BritOdds.com
BP= the best price at the time of writing

1. 1233-2 Afsoun Nicky Henderson 5-11-08 Mick Fitzgerald
Third behind Sublimity in last year’s Smurfit Champion Hurdle and he ran with great credit on his seasonal reappearance at Ascot, when narrowly going down to Hardy Eustace over slightly further. He is dropping back in trip and needs a strongly-run race. A very consistent and game sort but he has to give weight to most of these. BP= 5/1

2. 1421P- Straw Bear Nick Gifford 6-11-08 Tony McCoy
Apparently in last chance saloon over hurdles, but he looked potential superstar prior to breaking a blood vessel in Champion Hurdle here in March. He won a weak Grade One on his seasonal reappearance last season and there no concerns regarding course (close second in last season’s Supreme Novices). However, he has not run this season and is another burdened by extra weight. BP= 9/1

3. 44/11- Sublimity John Carr 7-11-08t Paul Carberry
Defending Champion and the pick on form. Hard to find fault, but did fail last year as a novice at Punchestown when the race was run at a crawl. He has to respected and could get a nice tow from Katchit, but defending champions have a poor record. BP= 11/4

4. 111-13 Katchit Alan King 4-11-04 Robert Thornton
Top performer last season, winning the JCB Triumph Hurdle here and successful on his reappearance at Aintree. However, there are questions to answer after being beaten fair and square by seasoned campaigners in the Fighting Fifth. Usual style of running will play into the hands of market principals but he likes Cheltenham and is very game. BP= 5/1

5. 3271-0 Penzance Alan King 6-11-04 Richard Johnson
Won the JCB Triumph Hurdle in 2005, but he should serve as a reminder to trainers that good novices do not necessarily make good hurdlers. Out of his depth on latest start at Haydock and is unlikely to seriously challenge here. BP= 50/1

6. 930-11 Desert Quest Paul Nicholls 7-11-00b Sam Thomas
Another former Festival winner who had lost his way. Two recent wins in novice chase company will have restored some confidence, but his future may lie over fences. Useful hurdler at best. BP= 8/1

7. 322-3 Macs Joy Jessica Harrington 8-11-00 Barry Geraghty
Has finished fifth and second in Champion Hurdles here, and had interrupted campaign last season with muscle problems. Excuses for third behind Jazz Messenger on seasonal reappearance (unsuitable ground/first run for six months) and eight-year-old has ability to win a race like this. Very consistent. BP= 11/1

8. 4102-2 Osana David Pipe 5-11-00 Paddy Brennan
Second here under top-weight in Greatwood Hurdle at The Open last month, but the form of that race is hard to weigh up. He has won two minor novice hurdles but the young gelding is open to improvement for this Champion Hurdle trial. Probably has the most scope of all of them. Trainer in very good form. BP= 9/1


With eight runners going to post, Osana represents good each-way value.

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