Is Binocular worth a look for the Champion Hurdle?

Now I have not been a fan of Binocular. He has looked below par and vulnerable on too many occasions. He is a horse I have wanted to ‘get’. Indeed I laid him when he hacked up last time at Wincanton. However, just because you learn to oppose a horse does not mean you need to be dogmatic about it. In racing it can pay to change an opinion. Sticking to your guns can be a costly point of principal.

So, you can see I am gearing up for an embarrassing u-turn. Now before I get to the crux of what I want to say I just want to give my views on beathing operations. So many horses that have them do not come back the same, ever again. Now Binocular had one between his last two runs and his sole and most recent victory at Wincanton, post wind op, was pretty impressive. The knockers will say he beat trees. I mean Celestial Halo (a very distant six lengths adrift) is no Hurricane Fly. But Binocular looked good beating that particular tree.

With the Champion Hurdle Betting beginning to lack strength in depth, after Binocular’s stablemate Grandouet was sidelined through injury, I think the 2010 Champion Hurdle winner may just be a bit of value each-way for Cheltenham. I never thought I would be advising parting with money in support of Binocular, but he might just be back to the sort of devastating form that saw him glorious and victorious two years ago. That nasty little wind operation, and it must have been little for him to have returned to the track so soon, just might have done him wonders. It looked that way to me.

It does seem like the old boy has been around for ages. He must be getting over the hill. He must be knocking on 10 years old. Not a bit of it, despite being champion hurdler two seasons ago, Binocular is in his prime as a mere eight year old. I’d have got that wrong in a game of Trivial Pursuit.

All that said, how can he beat Hurricane Fly? I don’t know the answer to that except to state all the old cliches: never be afraid of one horse and there is now no value at all to be had in backing the odds-on favourite. Hurricane Fly’s magnificence has been well and truly factored into the price while Binocular, at around 11/2 in the Champion Hurdle Cheltenham betting, looks nailed on for a place at worst and could even take the scalp of last year’s hero.

I am likely to muse about the Champion Hurdle conundrum nearer the time. But one that catches my eye at big odds, coming from the yard of a master trainer, is Overturn. The amazing Donald McCain is targeting the big race with this horse. He is giving him a special preparation. I expect him to run a huge race from the front. You will have a lot of thrills if you take a touch of the current 33/1. You may even hit the jackpot.

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