February 6, 2002 at 10:43 #4076
It is worth pointing out that only two 10-y-os have ever won this race in its 75-year history Hatton’s Grace and Sea Pigeon. They both won the race at eleven also and are the only horses of this age to do so. These two apart from being brilliant were from late-maturing families and never better than at this age. Not that Istabraq is not, but he is showing distinct signs of wear and tear and has not bettered his Champion Hurdle performance of two years ago since.
Istabraq has won it in his prime years 6, 7 and 8. It is asking too much for him to do it now, especially in view of his problems and especially as this is probably his toughest assignment anyway.
He does not qualify on a host of criteria this year. The only two qualifiers are Landing Light and Valiramix and Ned Kelly only just falls short on his Irish Champion performance.
These are the three you should be considering. My prefence is just for Landing Light over Valiramix.
I have backed Landing Light weeks ago as many of you know. I intend to back Valiramix on the day.
While it is possible for 5-y-os to win the Champion (as opposed to the Stayers) probably no 5-y-o is quite good enough to win it this year.
Six and seven year olds have by far the best record.<br>
(Edited by Steve M at 10:56 am on Feb. 6, 2002)February 6, 2002 at 11:08 #94940MorgansHarbourMember
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Bilboa is no superstar and beating her at kempton in the way that LL did, did nothing to boost his chances in my eyes. Valiramix looked very useful when beating TFF. But these runs to me are not nearly as good the form Istabraq displyed 12 months and 10 months ago in ireland. They others still ahve it to prove in teh fomrbook. Can Istabraq recapture this form after a lacklustre seasonal debut like last year?
Steve you are confident about marlborough in the gold cup, but none so about istabraq in teh champion hurdle. Yet it was marlborough’s stable that have said that he had an operation, while we are only dealing with speculation and rumour with regard to istabraq. The same speculation and rumour that appears this time in the past two years, the same speculation and rumour that has proved irrelevant. Until he loses – not falls – he should be favourite. id nearly go as far as to say , until he loses in march, he should remain favourite.February 6, 2002 at 11:13 #94941LUKEMember
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If any horse is a false price surely its Valiramix.He won probably the worst Bula hurdle ever run.I was a big fan of the horse last year but I would say there is no evidence that he has improved dramatically-slight improvement probably.<br>The fact that he was a springer in the ante-post market before his seasonal reappearance and the Pipe/McCoy factor are responsible for him being so short in the market.<br>I would expect him to go close on Saturday if he runs but a hard race on Saturday wont exactly improve his Champion prospects.February 6, 2002 at 11:24 #94942prince regentMember
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<br>bilbao to me is nowhere near good enough to win in march and whilst beating her at kempton is not the greatest form in the world given good ground and the uphill finish i think landing light will improve and i have backed him to win.
i think it is a 2 horse race myself as i have doubts about valirimix in large fields on good ground i know he has strengthened up but his jumping is not what it should be at times and a 2 mile slog at newbury is to me not the ideal preperation.
i wouldnt discount isty on rumours alone as there have always been rumours about him every year i would have been more happy though if had had a run in the aig first though.
his form last year in the aig and even wehn he fell the second time he was cantering show in my opinion he was no back number then and neednt be now .
and one stat of interest over 5 years 11 runners aged io+ have competed in hurdles over 2m at chelt the record splits down to 0/9 in handicaps and 1/2 in condition races so there is some encouragment there against the stat for 10 yrs old in the ch
i was a fan as well luke but i was hoping he would go novice chasing this yearFebruary 6, 2002 at 11:25 #94945SmithyMember
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Morgans Harbour – to criticise Landing Light’s Kempton win is not really fair on the horse. He is a galloper who would not have been suited by Kempton and the stiffer test at Cheltenham will see him in a much better light. If you look at his best form it is all at stiff tracks – Sandown, Cheltenham and Newbury and, whilst there is a worry about his penchant for hitting a flat spot during a race, he will be running on strongly in the closing stages. Bilboa will not be anywhere near as close to LL come March – of that I am fairly certain.
With regards to Valiramix he will have had to have improved to reverse Sandown form with LL. He is always going to look good toying with small fields and I agree that his price is solely based on his connections. His chance would surely be increased by missing Saturday’s race as lumping 12st round on bad ground won’t do him any good – or will it???February 6, 2002 at 11:35 #94947
I agree a 5-y-o mare should be priced up very big in this race and would not give a chance to Bilboa. But all you can do is win and Landing Light won well, yet is still underrated by many.
The 5-y-o with the best credentials is Jair Du Cochet, but I wouldn’t give him much of a chance even if he does line up.
As I say six- and seven-year-olds do best (more than 40 have won the race) and eight 6 or 7-y-os have won since 1990, as opposed to one 9-y-o and zero 10 or 11-y-os.
Usually one of the first three or four in the betting win this and it is highly predictable compared with the Gold Cup.
It’s looking to me like a two horse race unless Ned Kelly can leave his bursting problems to one side.
With regard to Marlborough an operation on a trapped epiglottis is of no real consequence and has not affected his well being.
Istabraq on the other hand is looking quite threadbare to me (you wouldn’t want to say the horse is thriving would you?), which is the way of it for many horses of his age.<br>February 6, 2002 at 11:54 #94948MorgansHarbourMember
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I think landing light is a decent horse but the field he beat at Kempton were poor. I wasnt impressed by Bilboa at sandown, he was beaten well by JDC, he won well at aintree in ground where form is tough to gauge at best. IN the agfa gained 3 lengths over the second last and plugged on. The super juveniles of last year havent performed well this – i backed landing light in a big way ( for me anyway) for the tote gold trophy last year , he was outpaced by that superstar bring sweets and co coming into the straight. That he picked up and won well off 10-2 was very well done. Kempton, he was niggled all the way around. If he runs the same way at cheltenham he will not win. They will have gone from him. He is improving, something that cant be said about the favourite, and i wouldnt mind seeing him win at Cheltenham , but he still has it to prove on the book. <br>He’s not even second favourite, why are we going over this again in this thread.
Istabraq is the one to aim for, he should be favourite, istabraq of last year minus 6lbs still wins this champion in my opinion. I said this ages ago, what you are betting on is O’brien getting the horse right. <br>
In any ante post bet, there is a risk that the horse will not make it. Ever backed relkeel? IS teh issue in fact that if istabraq runs, he will be fit, arthritis unaffecting him, bleeding not a problem, then he should be at best 1/1. Some think he will be 3/1 – despite being backed from 9/4 to 7/4 in all major irish books yeasterday. If he doesnt , you have all missed your price on LL and VALRI.February 6, 2002 at 12:40 #94949
If he is back to his very best I agree he should win. But it is asking too much to get him back at this age. We ought to be backing against him.February 6, 2002 at 13:04 #94950jjimpsMember
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Steve with respect your age stats are irrelevant the key stat is the % winners to runners from each age group not the number of winners. I illustrate this with an example of a 5f course with no draw advantage and 10 stalls. When I look at the bare number of winners I see Draws one and two have the highest number of winners but this is simply because they of course provide the highest number of runners.
For me Landing Light is the horse with the form in the book this year who will be best suited by the conditions of the race. If Istabraq is there on the day thought I am sure he will not be easy to beat.February 6, 2002 at 13:29 #94951
There is merit in what you say jjumps.
Using figures from the Racing Post web site as my own stats are not to hand (stored at home).
37 5-y-o runners since 1990 have produced zero winners, 45 6-y-o runners five winners 49 7-y-o runners three winners, 25 8-y-o runners two winners, 20 9-y-o runners one winner and five 10-y-o runners zero winners.
10-y-os aside for the moment you can see a falling off from as early as six, i.e. more 7-y-os have actually run than 6-y-os but a higher number of 6-y-os have won.
Also you have the additional reason that if 10-y-os are allowed to take part why do so few run? This in itself is significant.
The impact values for this period (curtesy of the Post) for 5 to 10-y-os are: zero, 1.83, 1.01, 1.32, 0.83, and zero respectively.
So a definte picture begins to emerge.<br>February 6, 2002 at 13:44 #94952robgommMember
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The 6yo and 7yo stats are ceratinly interesting.
Is it not possible that not many 10-year-olds run in the Champion because they are chasing instead? <br>It is also possible that not many 10yo’s run because they are too slow at that age. That’s not to say Istabraq will be though – he didn’t look slow on his comeback this season.February 6, 2002 at 13:57 #94953SmithyMember
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He didn’t look that quick though did he?February 6, 2002 at 14:15 #94954robgommMember
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Take a look at the closing stages, Swan is cosy on him. I think he raises his hand right before the line. Istabraq took slightly longer to quicken than normal but beat Bust Out cosily enough.
Unfair to judge Istabraq on that one run as it would be to judge Landing Light on his run against The French Furze where he was only 80% fit.February 6, 2002 at 14:30 #94955remittance manMember
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This tired debate seems destined to stutter on for a few more weeks yet.
I just hope he turns up on the day, and if he wins I’ll consider myself privileged to have witnessed it. Sometimes the sport transcends all else (including the sacred punt).
What is the point of these stats? If he loses in March, we’ll all know the reasons why.
The position is clear enough: if he’s retained his ability, he wins; if he hasn’t retained his ability, he’ll have a battle – and yet may still win.
The question, for me, is this: do I think he can reproduce the form of his last run of last season? Sentimentality clouds my judgement. But if he can (and he was galloping all over Moscow Flyer when he fell) then of course he’s capable of winning again.
I just hope he can scale the heights, and that’ll do for me.February 6, 2002 at 15:16 #94956Merlin the MagicianMember
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When betting horses one can not let sentimentallity rule your pocket you come to a decision via your brain not your heart and to me its just the choice of the oppositition ???which one is going to win the C/H because in all honesty the brain tells me it will not be the WONDER HORSE some people rely on STATS,my decision will be,come the day, made by my brain and knowledge, of the equine type, full stop no sentiment here.<br>regards MERLIN
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