Is Cheltenham Festival Bridesmaid My Tent Or Yours Worth Backing in the Champion Hurdle This Year?
Leading Irish owner JP McManus has had the first two past the post in the Champion Hurdle at two of the previous four Cheltenham Festivals.
He has also enjoyed an unparalleled six winners of the 2m contest, with four different horses carrying his famous green and gold hooped colours to victory.
While this legendary gambler doesn’t have a leading contender in Paddy Power’s 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup betting, McManus does boast yet another Champion Hurdle favourite in last year’s winner Buveur D’Air (8/15).
Stablemate My Tent Or Yours, meanwhile, is bidding to make it fourth time lucky in the feature contest on the Festival’s opening day for the same connections. This veteran – now an 11-year-old – had always been the bridesmaid at Cheltenham.
That was until My Tent Or Yours finally got that monkey off his back and won at the track at the sixth attempt when landing the Grade 2 International Hurdle in December. Getting 6lb from three-time race winner The New One and Melon, who re-opposes at the Festival, he outstayed both horses up the Cheltenham hill.
Fillies, mares and four-year-olds apart, the Champion Hurdle is a race off level weights, so those favourable terms from the International are not available to My Tent Or Yours. Nicky Henderson’s charge is a four-time runner-up at the Festival, having finished second in the 2013 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Another McManus owned horse Jezki, who was third in that renewal of Cheltenham week curtain-raiser, reversed the form when contesting the Champion Hurdle the following year. My Tent Or Yours, who had been a 3/1 fancy, then had one further start before spending almost two years off the track through injury.
He returned to action in the 2016 Champion Hurdle, however, chasing home Annie Power when giving 7lb to Willie Mullins’ wonder mare as a 9/1 shot. Spring ground also brought the best out of My Tent Or Yours again at the Festival last year during another winless campaign, but he was best of the rest behind Buveur D’Air when outrunning odds of 16/1.
Quantifying the significance of his International Hurdle success this season isn’t straightforward because, while that race takes place at Cheltenham, it’s on the New Course, while the Champion Hurdle is held on the Old Course. As indicated above, Melon (14/1) is the only one of the Irish trained horses going in this year’s renewal My Tent Or Yours has beaten.
Wicklow Brave (12/1) defeated him in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle on his penultimate start. Previous dual Cheltenham Festival winners Faugheen (6/1) and Yorkhill (8/1), meanwhile, are yet to race against My Tent Or Yours but both have something to prove, as their prices indicate.
Given his Champion Hurdle record and widely-available odds of 10/1 in the run-up to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, My Tent Or Yours is a solid each-way proposition from a betting perspective with strong claims of placing yet again. Buveur D’Air is going to take all the beating, though, as he’s the only horse in this year’s renewal who has done nothing wrong.