Author: Graham Tower
Cheltenham Festival 2017
Published: 10:56 10/03/2013
Willie Mullins-trained Hurricane Fly will face a maximum of eight rivals when he attempts to regain his Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham on Tuesday.
The nine-year-old is 2/1 favourite with Paddy Power to repeat his 2011 Champion Hurdle victory after returning to something like his best form this season.
It will be a small but select line up including last year’s winner Rock On Ruby trained by Harry Fry and Nicky Henderson’s 2010 Champion Hurdle hero Binocular.
Henderson also has Khyber Kim and Grandouet, the latter seemingly on course after fears over his well-being were quashed by the trainer on Saturday.
Paul Nicholls saddles last year’s fifth Zarkandar and is in confident mood after the six-year-old won the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanto last month to maintain his unbeaten record this season.
Last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Cinders And Ashes, Triumph Hurdle champion Countrywide Flame and Alan King's Balder Succes complete the field, with Cotton Mill the absentee.
Paddy Power will refund losing single stakes on the race if Hurricane Fly wins the 2013 Champion Hurdle.