International Hurdle At Cheltenham Preview

Big Race Preview By Ladbrokes 

Tomorrow, one of the biggest races on the winter calendar takes place at Cheltenham. The International Hurdle sees nine of the biggest names in horse racing compete for a massive winners’ cheque and the chance to be labelled ‘the best of the best’, but who are the main contenders for this prestigious title? Are any of them worth a punt with Ladbrokes to win outright or finish strongly?

Perhaps the most pressure will fall on Rock On Ruby, the Irish bred currently trained by youthful trainer Harry Fry. He’s the second favourite for the race at 7/4,  and is expected to fare well here, but in a field of such quality, it’s not entirely certain that he will come away with the top prize. Despite the relative inexperience of his trainer, he is the current Champion Hurdler.

Another of the major contenders is Zarkandar, one of many successful names trained by the legendary Paul Nicholls. Available for just evens, it’s easy to see why the bookies fancy him to perform well. Zarkandar, also Irish bred, comes into the International hurdle on the back of winning the Elite Hurdle in Wincanton, and it seems like he’s ready to strike here while he is 4lb better off than his Champion Hurdler conquerer. While Zarkandar is the favourite for the title, the threat posed by Rock on Ruby may be too much for him to cope with, although he’s being looked after by a great team.

The third of the three main contenders in tomorrow’s big race is last year's winner, Grandouet, who is the third favourite with Ladbrokes at a fairly reasonable 5/2. Under another super trainer in the form of Nick Henderson, he has had his fair share of problems this year such as being forced to withdraw from the 2012 Champion Hurdle. However, his pedigree is not in question, and he does have a chance of winning, although stopping Zarkandar will take a huge amount of effort.

The International Hurdle is mainly about the big three of Rock ON Ruby, Zarkandar and Grandouet, but some of the outsiders including Albert Hall, Mad Moose and One Cool Shabra will set out to prove that they’re present for reasons aside just making up the numbers. However, it’s likely that one of those three already mentioned will win, but who’s your money on when they take off?

The International Hurdle starts at 3.05pm at Cheltenham live on Channel 4.


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