Commercial Content | 18+ | T&C's Apply
Commercial Content | 18+ | T&C's Apply

World Hurdle 2016 Tips

Alpha Des Obeaux (ew)World Hurdle 201610/1Sky Bet
Saphir Du Rheu (ew)World Hurdle 201620/1Betfred, BetVictor

After convincing wins in both the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, traditionally two of the best trials for the stayers’ championship, Thistlecrack is justifiably favourite for this year’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

Colin Tizzard’s young hurdler has really come into his own recently after finishing last season strongly and it is hard to pick any holes in his form. However, odds of 9/4 makes little appeal ante-post as he is unlikely to be much shorter on the big day.

Next in the current market with firms offering ‘non-runner, no bet’ for this race is Annie Power at 6/1 with Ladbrokes and William Hill. This hugely talented mare was second in the race two years ago, but skipped another crack at the staying crown in 2015 to try to land the Mare’s Hurdle instead. She famously capsized at the last in that race and looks more likely to try to gain compensation there than turn up here. If this is her first choice engagement she would, of course, be a threat to all.

The position with Annie Power is further complicated by the presence of another Willie Mullins wonder mare high up in the ante-post market, Vroum Vroum Mag at 8/1 with Bet365 (NRNB). Like her stablemate, she may head for the Mares’ Hurdle instead (it looks likely that one of the two will run there and the other will head here) and at the moment there is no telling how good she is as she has won most of her recent races at a canter. Some of those have been over fences and some over hurdles, but one question mark is the fact that she has never run over this trip. She could be anything, but with those stamina concerns and given that this would be a significant step up in class for her, there may be better value elsewhere.

One horse whose only target this season has been this race is last year’s winner Cole Harden (who we tipped at 20/1). He has run two nice races this campaign and looks set to peak when it really matters. There was no fluke about his triumph last time around and his front running tactics are sure to expose any weaknesses in his rivals. There is still some 9/1 available with Paddy Power (NRNB) this season, which looks a tempting each-way option, for a horse who is still possibly underestimated by many, particularly if he gets his preferred better ground.

By contrast, it is a case of the softer the better for Camping Ground, a horse we have highlighted as one to follow for a while now.

His undoubted natural talent was never more in evidence than at Cheltenham last time around where he made mincemeat of a classy Relkeel Hurdle field that included Cole Harden. The issue with him is that, at this level of competition, he may be ground dependent and so probably isn’t one to back this far out (9/1 Bet365).

A horse with from on all types of surface is ALPA DES OBEAUX and following his recent success in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park he looks the standout bet at this stage with Sky Bet offering 10/1 (NRNB).

Mouse Morris has always been a top trainer given the right ammunition and this horse could be his next star as he looks to have a big future over fences. That said, it is interesting that connections have stuck to the smaller obstacles this season and they clearly think they can claim a big prize or two before he goes chasing.

He fell on his only start in this country when just headed by Thistlecrack in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree at the Grand National meeting, but would have been a good second to that rival at worst had he stood up.

Unsurprisingly given his size and shape, he looks to have improved and strengthened up this season and he won’t lack for tactical speed as he was good enough to finish second as a novice to both Nichols Canyon (over 2m 4f) and Douvan (over 2 miles). He also started this campaign with a second to champion hurdle runner-up Artic Fire at Fairyhouse.

He’s won on heavy and so should be able to cope with the ground if the wet winter continues, but he is better on a sounder surface, which is no bad thing as history shows the going usually dries out by the time we get to the Festival.

Of those at bigger prices, the most interesting is probably last year’s runner up, SAPHIR DU RHEU at 20/1 with both Betfred and BetVictor.

After cruising home at Carlisle over fences on his re-appearance he was a warm order for the Hennessy, but faded in the closing stages at Newbury to finish fifth. He probably didn’t enjoy the heavy ground that day, but plans for a tilt at the Gold Cup were promptly shelved and he returned to hurdles behind Thistlecrack in the Long Walk at Ascot. He ran no sort of race that day, but has had a wind operation since. If that procedure has done the trick, and if we get some decent ground on the day, he could outrun his price as Paul Nicholls has never tried to hide the high regard in which he holds this horse who is still only a seven year old.

Alpha Des Obeaux (ew)World Hurdle 201610/1Sky Bet
Saphir Du Rheu (ew)World Hurdle 201620/1Betfred, BetVictor