3:20 Cheltenham (Tuesday,12th March) Free Horse Racing Tips

Zarkandar trained by Paul Nicholls

3.20 – Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Hurricane Fly is not much value at around 2/1. He beat Binocular and Thousand Stars on heavy ground last time. Binocular doesn't go on that ground and was never ridden to get into the race. Thousand Stars is a 2 and a half miler and has only won once in a Grade 1 in 15 attempts. Prior to that, Hurricane Fly beat Unaccompanied and Thousand Stars again. I think people have forgotten that back in November Go Native looked to have Hurricane Fly beat before falling at the last. I think everything will have to go right for him to win and he's up against some serious challengers in Rock On Ruby, Zarkandar and Grandouet. I've backed Rock On Ruby already at 10/1 before he ran this season. At his current price I won't be topping up but his first run this season in the International was in heavy ground conceding weight and can be excused. Next up he looked as if he would be beaten by Darlan but we'll never know. I think his price is about right and he'll run a good race. I was a bit disappointed by Grandouet in the International; the race was run to suit and it looked like he would pick up and win. Maybe the ground beat him that day, his sires progeny certainly have a better record on better ground. Zarkandar is my idea of the most likely winner. The way he battled in the International was exactly what you want in a race like this. My only reservation is his jumping is sometimes a little sloppy. The value on Binocular has all gone now and soft ground won't help his cause but you can forget his last run in the heavy and look at last years Champion Hurdle. He wasn't far away and looks closely matched to Hurricane Fly at a much bigger price. Out of the others; Countrywide Flame doesn't look quite good enough but I can see a possibility of him reversing the form with Rock On Ruby on softer ground and has an each-way chance. Cinders and Ashes is the potential dark horse in this - this seasons runs have been too bad to be true - is this due to the heavy ground or has he regressed? I'd have to side with the latter.

Zarkandar - 2 pts win - 7/2 4th

Great battling display and just out-battled at the finish

I would like to thank Sean Kelsey for his superb analysis, the author of this post. 

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