My Tent Or Yours to have prep run at either Wincanton or Sandown for Champion Hurdle
Trainer Nicky Henderson is keen to give the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdle winner another outing ahead of Cheltenham
Tony McCoy annd My Tent Or Yours (right) clear the last before winning the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle from The New One at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day.
My Tent Or Yours is to have a prep run for the Stan Champion Hurdle at either Wincanton or Sandown.
Trainer Nicky Henderson is keen to give the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdle winner another outing ahead of Cheltenham in March, in either the Betfred “Double Delight” Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on February 1st or the Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton two weeks later.
“My Tent is very fresh and will need a run. You’d probably look at Wincanton, although it depends on the ground and there’s Sandown as well,” said Henderson.
Record sixth triumph
The Seven Barrows trainer has also entered Grandouet and Rolling Star among the 18 entries as he looks for a record sixth Champion triumph on March 11th.
“Rolling Star will come back here next week for the Betfair Hurdle, and we put Grandouet in there but the Arkle is his target. He’ll probably run at Doncaster on Saturday week,” he said.
Defending champion Hurricane Fly heads the list of possibles. The Willie Mullins-trained 10-year-old will bid to become the sixth three-time winner of hurdling’s premier event and the first since Istabraq – successful for Aidan O’Brien in 1998, 1999 and 2000 – and also the first not to achieve the feat in successive years.
Regain the crown
Hurricane Fly captured his first Champion Hurdle crown in 2011 and became only the second horse to regain the crown when getting the better of the 2012 victor Rock On Ruby last year.
After confirming his superiority over Rock On Ruby at Punchestown in April, Hurricane Fly made a triumphant seasonal debut in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November – a record-breaking 17th Grade One success.
He then extended that tally to 18 by beating fellow Champion entries Jezki and Our Conor in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown last month.
Jezki, owned like My Tent Or Yours by JP McManus, was considered unlucky in the Ryanair Hurdle and gets another crack at Hurricane Fly in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle back at Leopardstown on Sunday week.
“At the moment, the Stan James Champion Hurdle is very much the aim for Jezki,” said his trainer Jessica Harrington. “He runs a week on Sunday in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
“He went to Cheltenham last year and was beaten by two very good horses (in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle). His jumping was probably a little bit sloppy on the day, but he gets two and a half miles and I see no reason why he won’t run very well in the Champion Hurdle.”
Hurricane Fly is not the only classy performer Mullins has put in the Champion. The Co Carlow handler is also responsible for Grade One-winning mare Annie Power, exciting French import Un De Sceaux and stable stalwart Thousand Stars.
Ptit Zig is Paul Nicholls’ sole entry, while his 2012 winner Rock On Ruby, now with Harry Fry, also figures but is expected to stick to novice chasing with the Arkle Trophy his target.
“Rock On Ruby has been entered in the Champion Hurdle purely as a fall-back plan if we weren’t able to get the experience in or weren’t happy with how we’d progressed over fences,” Fry told StanJames.com.
“The focus is very much on chasing and hopefully a tilt at the Arkle but if you’re not in it, you can’t win it so it’s purely a back-up plan.
‘Help from weather’
“We’re very much on target for the Lightning a week on Saturday but we just need a bit of help from the weather. That will be the determining factor at the end of the day and we’re looking forward to seeing him out over fences again.”
Another star name in the list is The New One, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, who was narrowly beaten by My Tent Or Yours in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on St Stephen’s Day.
Among other Champion possibles are Elite Hurdle scorer Melodic Rendezvous and Cinders And Ashes, winner of the 2012 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.