The Leopardstown Christmas Meeting ends on Saturday and they've left the best till last with the Grade 1 Istabraq Festival Hurdle the highlight. Named after the three time Champion Hurdler, it's the 2011 Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly who dominates the betting. Run over two miles, this is an important Champion Hurdle trial, former winners including Brave Inca and Sublimity. Course and distance winner Hurricane Fly is an odds onÂ 1/3 favourite with bookmaker Paddy Power and a convincing performance on Saturday is likely to see him clipped in at the head of the 2013 Champion Hurdle market.
The eight year old is currently joint 5/1 favourite for the Champion Hurdle next March alongside the Nicky Henderson trained Darlan who won so well at Kempton on Boxing Day in the Christmas Hurdle. Willie Mullins trains the Montjeu gelding who won on his seasonal reappearance at Punchestown last month, landing the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle by twelve lengths from Captain Cee Bee (25/1). The eight year old has won fourteen of his seventeen starts over hurdles and has had his colours lowered just the once in his last ten starts. That defeat came in last season's Champion Hurdle when an off colour Hurricane Fly could only finish third behind Rock On Ruby. He bounced back in fine style when landing the Grade 1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown last Spring and his win on debut this season suggests he's still Ireland's best two mile hurdler. He's officially rated ten pounds higher than his closest rival and stable mate Thousand Stars and it's difficult to see him getting beat at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Last year's winner was the mare Unaccompanied who is trained by Dermot Weld and available to back in this year's race at odds of 4/1 in the betting with Paddy Power. The dual campaigner is only five years old and has won Grade 1 races over hurdles and also Listed races on the flat. In fact, Saturday will be her first run over hurdles this season having run four times on the flat over the Summer, finishing fourth in a modest handicap here at Leopardstown last time out in November. She won this race last year beating Thousand Stars by one and a half lengths but that wasn't the strongest of renewals. She has 39 lengths to find on Hurricane Fly based on the last time they met and although the 2011 Triumph Hurdle runner up will be getting a seven pund weight allowance on Saturday she has 18 lbs to make up based on official ratings so has plenty to find on Hurricane Fly.
The aforementioned Thousand Stars is 8/1 and it's starting to look like his best years are behind him. The eight year old has won at Grade 1 levelÂ and also won twice in France over the summer. However, he was beaten ten lengths and eigth and a half lengths the last two times he faced his stable mate Thousand Stars and he has ten pounds to find on theÂ favourite according to the official ratings.
Next in the betting is former Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Captain Cee Bee, whilst the outsider of the field of five is 100/1 chance Tilabay whose not been seen on the racecourse for 804 days over jumps.Â It would be a huge surprise if Hurricane Fly was to not win this and enhance his claims of regaining the Champion Hurdle next March.
1/3 Hurricane Fly
8/1 Thousand Stars
25/1 Captain Cee Bee
Odds supplied by PaddyPower.com, with best odds guaranteed on all UK and Irish horse racing.
|Start Of Flat Season Dominates Predicted 1m Scoop6|
Racing From Doncaster, Kempton And Chelmsford
|Gabrials Kaka tipped for glory in the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster|
Mange All Heads The Betting For Turf Season Opener
|California Chrome To Start Favourite In Exciting Dubai World Cup Odds|
Prince Bishop Could Offer Each Way Value At Meydan
|Shutthefrontdoor heads the Grand National betting after 13 defect from Aintree showpiece|
74 Possibles Remain For The National On 11th April
|Saturdays Scoop 6 Preview Pepite Rose to storm to victory at Newbury|
Spookydooky And Gimme Five Just Two Of Our Selections
|The Druids Nephew slashed for Grand National after Cheltenham win|
Pineau De Re Primed For Aintree Return After Pertemps Run
|Saturdays Scoop 6 selections feature a win for Grendisar in the Winter Derby|
Scoop 6 Includes Midlands Grand National
|Catching On heads the betting for Midlands Grand National|
Woodford County Can Feature In Uttoxeter Marathon
|Paint The Clouds to storm to Foxhunter Chase glory for Greatrex|
Jolly's Cracked It An Each-way Player In Martin Pipe
|Bookmakers expect Black Hercules to be too strong in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle|
Value At Risk The Each Way Tip
|Lexus Chase Betting Preview Flemenstar Bids To Sparkle At Leopardstown|
Sir Des Champs will relish the step up to three miles
|Back In Focus Heads Betting For Fort Leney Novice Chase|
Dedigout second favourite at Leopardstown
|Jezki Heads Betting In Future Champions Novice Hurdle At Leopardstown|
Waaheb and Sizing Rio hoping to keep up unbeaten runs
|Sizing Europe Odds On To Land Paddy Power Dial A Bet Chase|
Big Zeb looks for three in a row in this race
|2012 King George VI Chase Tips Kauto Stone Can Emulate Brother To Score For Nicholls|
The Giant Bolster well priced to get a place
|2015 Cricket World Cup Final Betting Australia Are Odds On To Beat New Zealand At The MCG|
Australia Bid To Win The World Cup For A 5th Time
|Scotland V Gibraltar Odds Matt Ritchie Tipped To Score At Hampden Park|
Scotland Long Odds On For Group D Encounter
|Northern Ireland V Finland Odds The Match Betting Is Tight For Crucial Group F Clash|
Kyle Lafferty Tipped To Score Last In Belfast
|Republic Of Ireland V Poland Odds The Match Betting Points To A Draw In Dublin|
Group D Rivals Meet At The Aviva Stadium
|Brazil V Chile Odds Neymar Is Favourite To Score First At The Emirates|
Brazil Tipped To Win International Friendly Match
Ladbrokes are one of the highest rated online bookmakers in the UK and are a superb choice for placing your bets. You can claim a free bet of up to £25 when opening a new account with Ladbrokes by clicking on one of the links on this site.
Open Account - £25 Free Bet - Ladbrokes
Those looking for some online casino entertainment ought to check out all the latest UK Casino Sign Up offers from the top operators including 32Red and many of the sports betting casinos.
There is excellent information, should you be interested in playing online blackjack, roulette, the best progressives or slots - Online Casino Betting with the best introductory offers