Day one Festival favourites’ record puts Hurricane Fly in danger
It has been nine years since as many as three favourites have been successful on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival and this does not bode well for the trio of odds-on fancies in action this year.
Day one of the Cheltenham Festival threatens to be a good one for punters, with Sprinter Sacre, Hurricane Fly and Quevega all in action.
Hurricane Fly and Quevega did the honours for favourite backers on the opening day 12 months ago and punters will be hoping the duo can help to line their pockets again.
A second successive Champions Hurdle victory beckons for Hurricane Fly and it is 4/6 in the Cheltenham odds that he triumphs, while it is 4/9 that Quevega wins the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle for a fourth successive year.
The other well-backed favourite is Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle Chase and he can be backed at 8/11 to maintain his 100 per cent record since stepping up to the larger obstacles from the hurdles ranks.
However, it is likely that at least one of the favourites will fail to do the honours.
Many would argue that Sprinter Sacre is the most likely to be beaten of the trio, with two logical reasons for this.
Firstly, only two of the last 19 Arkle favourites have proved the Cheltenham betting right and Sprinter Sacre seemingly faded up the Cheltenham hill last year when beaten in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
He was beaten by Al Ferof on this occasion and the same horse presents the big danger again.
Quevega does not appear to have any such suitable competition, but arrives at Cheltenham without a run all season and this must be a negative.
However, it may be Hurricane Fly that is the most susceptible to defeat, despite the concerns he seemed to erase when a comfortable winner at Leopardstown on his only start of the season in January.
The reason is because of the calibre of his chief opposition, especially Binocular and Zarkandar.
Binocular showed signs of returning to his past glories when a dominant winner at Wincanton, while Zarkandar is still unbeaten and has the capabilities of improving to the level required to topple Hurricane Fly.