The Stayers Hurdle catches the eye on day three of the Cheltenham festival, 2018, for which Supasudae leads the Irish challenge.
He comes into the race on the back of an impressive victory at the Dublin racing Festival last month when he got the better of Faugheen over a 2 mile trip. However, the son of Galileo will be travelling an extra mile on heavier ground at Cheltenham, which surely represents a negative for last year’s Coral Cup winner. The fact that last year’s victor Nichols Canyon was just the second Irish trained horse to win the race since 2005 could also be perceived as a bad omen for the visiting party.
Prior to last month’s victory, the former Henry the Bromhead trained eight-year-old finished runner-up on his previous three starts, one of which saw him beaten by Yanworth at Aintree – a rival he will face once again on Thursday.
Well fancied in last year’s Champion Hurdle, he will be jumping the smaller obstacles on the track for just the second time since – having been switched to the chasing sphere with some success in the interim.
The Jedd O’Keeffe trained Sam Spinner is the current favourite for the race and was impressive when winning Betfair Stayers hurdle at Haydock in November, before beating L’ami Serge in the Long Walk Hurdle in December.
Aside from the two market principles, quite a number of those in behind are available at some lofty odds – many of whom have form to suggest good runs are likely in the race. Among those are the Nicky Henderson trained duo – the aforementioned L’ami Serge and Wholestone. The latter finished last of six in the Ladbrokes Long distance hurdle at Newbury in December on a day when an erratic round of jumping consigned him to defeat from an early stage.
However, he did manage to beat Agrapart at Cheltenham on heavy ground on New Year’s Day. The finishing order was reversed between the pair in the Cleeve Hurdle at the same venue – a race that is often used as a trial for this particular encounter at the festival.
Former French Champion Hurdle winner L’Ami Serge will also carry the light and dark green coloured silks of owners, Simon Munir and Isaac Souede and is the pick of their retained rider, Daryl Jacob. He finished two and three-quarter lengths behind Sam Spin
ner in the Long walk hurdle at Ascot in December – 8 lengths clear of uknowwhatimeanharry.
His latest appearance came when finishing a close third, albeit beaten favourite, in the sky bet handicap Chase in January on a day when he got little luck in running. He has won on heavy ground before and the trip shouldn’t pose a problem having won the French Champion Hurdle over a 3m1f trip in June.
Currently available at odds of 12/1, he is likely to be a popular selection with each way punters. Similarly, Lil Rockerfeller, who rarely runs a disappointing race, is available at odds of 28/1 having finished second in this race last year, just in front of uknowwhatimeanharry who will also run in this race.