Timeform take you through the feature race at Punchestown on Friday, the Rabobank Champion Hurdle...
"Hurricane Fly is an outstanding hurdler who has won 12 of his last 13 starts, gaining his second victory in the race when beating Rock On Ruby 2½ lengths in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on latest."
Hurricane Fly is an outstanding hurdler who has won 12 of his last 13 starts, gaining his second victory in the race when beating Rock On Ruby 2½ lengths in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on latest.
Midnight Game ran out an easy winner of minor event at Fairyhouse in December and followed up in listed race at Thurles later in month. Ran poorly last time, though, and faces a stiff task in this company.
Mister Benedictine hasn't always found much for pressure, but better than ever when landing a hat-trick of handicaps earlier this term. However, he is completely out of his depth in this sort of company.
Rebel Fitz looked a hurdler going places when winning 3 times in the summer, including the Galway Hurdle. Not disgraced when runner-up last 2 starts, but he needs to take a marked step forward to land this.
Rock On Ruby is a top-class hurdler who landed the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last term and produced his best effort since when chasing home Hurricane Fly in this year's renewal.
So Young proved better than ever when readily accounting for Zaidpour in Red Mills Trial at Gowran in February, but has proven vulnerable in this grade and minor honours are the best he can hope for.
Thousand Stars is a versatile and largely consistent performer who wasn't far off his very best when third to Zarkandar in the Aintree Hurdle last time. Often comes up short at the very top level, though.
1. Hurricane Fly
2. Rock On Ruby
3. Rebel Fitz
Timeform view: Hurricane Fly made history when regaining his Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham last month and he is a confident selection to land this race for the fourth successive year. Rock On Ruby chased him home that day and should again prove the biggest danger. Rebel Fitz and Thousand Stars are likely to fight it out for third.