A four-year-old bay gelding of French birth, the indefatigable Binocular, has claimed all the attention recently by outgunning two other top contenders for the Cheltenham Festival honours - Celestial Halo and Katchit - at Ascot in November. Both these horses are clearly at the peak of their prowess and with Celestial Halo ridden by champion jockey, Ruby Walsh, Binocular’s triumph was all the more impressive.
The more experienced horses win time and time again
No-one is out there to discredit a horse with oodles of talent but history has taught us one thing as far as the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham goes, it is the older, more experienced horses that have come away with the title...time and time again.
Defending champion and the horse ranked fourth on the bookmaker’s list of favourites for the Cheltenham Champion hurdle, Katchit, became the first five year old in over 2 decades to win. In fact as a ten and eleven year old the celebrated Sea Pigeon was a consecutive winner in the early 1980’s, proving our point that the youngsters have never really had the experience or stamina to finish well over a distance of 2 miles and 110 yards.
Only a handful of four-year-olds have won in 82 years
In the 82 year history of the event, only four 4-year-olds have managed to claim the title and that was way back in the 1920’s and 1940’s. Binocular will turn five on the March 17, only days after he turns out for the big time!
Another proverbial spoke in the wheel that could very well cost the outstanding young horse the title is the fact that this year the race will be run on the new course at Cheltenham, an unforgiving track that demands even more stamina. Can he win the battle between precocious youth and temperate experience? Only time will tell!
Binocular hasn’t had any track time in 2009 but one of his nearest rivals has. Celestial Halo, who was beaten by the youngster at Ascot, won the 2009 Contenders Hurdle at Sandown, edging past Osana, the horse ranked second on the bookmakers list for the Champion Hurdles at 10-1!
It seems peculiar that a horse of the undeniable pedigree of Celestial Halo should be eclipsed by both Binocular and Osana as the bookmaker’s favourite!
Paddy Power Betting Odds
Celestial Halo 11-1
About the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle
The Champion Hurdle is the climax of Britain’s national hunt hurdling season and the first major race of the Cheltenham Festival. The third race of day one of the Cheltenham Festival is renowned for producing exciting tight finishes between the top hurdlers in the world.
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Article Added on Monday, March 2, 2009
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