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Weekend Review - Hurricane Fly not to have it easy come Champion

Binocular and Zarkandar shine to cement places in Champion Hurdle betting

Hurricane Fly deserves to be a short-priced favourite for the Champion Hurdle next month after producing a scintillating performance in the Irish equivalent, but after Binocular's demolition of Celestial Halo in the Kingwell Hurdle and Zarkandar's gutsy victory in the Betfair Hurdle, should the Co. Carlow inmate be odds-on for the Grade One race on March 13.

The way Binocular travelled at Wincanton was the thing that caught the eye and AP McCoy never needed to let the Nicky Henderson-trained speedster out of second gear as he breezed to success.  He has shown before that on his day he is as good as any hurdler in training and if he can emulate his 2010 performance where he was a tremendous winner of the 2m contest on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, then Hurricane Fly could well have a major contender to his crown.

Zarkandar is another who caught the eye over the last few days, as he managed to grab the Betfair Hurdle with aplomb, after being trapped in behind horses when making his challenge.  Ruby Walsh was just about to let the 2011 Triumph winner go to win the race at Newbury, but with horses in his way, he was made to wait for an opening, but the five-year-old duly picked up and was going away from his rivals.

It will obviously be a different task altogether in three weeks, but he is sure to come on for the run and he too could be another majoy player in the Champion Hurdle and with two top class contenders set to line up, then Hurricane Fly could be too short for the contest.

Medermit looks a major play for Ryanair

Medermit enhanced his Ryanair Chase claims immeasurably with another top effort as he was just ran out of things by the classy Riverside Theatre.  Robert Thornton's heroics in the saddle certainly need a mention as he was nearly jolted out the saddle in the middle of the race, but for fans of Alan King's grey it proved to be a perfect prep for Cheltenham.

King has eluded that he wants to step the former Grade One winning hurdler up in trip, but he will be silly to head for the Gold Cup, as Medermit has shown a real niche for 2m 5f.  His second in the December Gold Cup at Prestbury Park just emphasised his love for the Cheltenham undulations and he certainly looks a major player heading to the Grade One on March 14.

One To Watch

Balder Succes may not have been handed the credit he was deserved on Saturday as he stormed to an impressive novice hurdle victory at the end of Ascot's magnificent jumps card.

He travelled like a dream for Robert Thornton and oozed class as he quickened to win by seven lengths.  However, he is still 14/1 in places for next month's Triumph Hurdle and in a wide open division could be overpriced for the juvenile contest which takes place on March 16.


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