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Rupert Wyman 18th Jan 2012 - 15:06

Fly Swatting! Champion Hurdle betting

2011 Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly is 2-1 favourite with William Hill to defend his Cheltenham Festival crown, as a field of 27 was revealed at the initial entry stage on Wednesday.

However, a host of Nicky Henderson challengers are queuing up to de-throne Willie Mullins's star, headed by 11-2 second-favourite Grandouet. 2010 hero Binocular is priced at 8-1 with the firm, alongside Supreme Novices' Hurdle second Spirit Son.

William Hill quote the Seven Barrows handler at 15-8 to train the winner of the Champion Hurdle.

Last year's Triumph Hurdle winner Zarkandar is also available at 8-1 ahead of fellow Paul Nicholls hopeful Rock On Ruby at 10-1. Triumph runner-up, the Dermot Weld-trained mare Unaccompanied, is quoted at 12-1.

William Hill spokeswoman Lucy Rhodes said "There's no doubt that 'The Fly' will be a tough nut to crack, but it wouldn't be the biggest shock to see him de-throned by the man who has won two of the last three Champion Hurdles"

Stan James Champion Hurdle: 2-1 Hurricane Fly, 11-2 Grandouet, 8-1 Binocular, Spirit Son, Zarkandar, 10-1 Rock On Ruby, 12-1 Unaccompanied, 16-1 Oscar Whisky, Oscars Well, 20-1 Thousand Stars, 25-1 Brampour, Overturn, 33-1 Peddlers Cross, So Young, 40-1 Final Approach, 50-1 Bobby Ewing, Celestial Halo, Mikael d'Haguenet, Starluck, Staying Article, Zaidpour, 66-1 BAR (EW ¼ 1,2,3)


Nicky Henderson to train the winner of the Champion Hurdle: 15-8

Paul Nicholls to train the winner of the Champion Hurdle: 7-2

A five-year-old winner of the Champion Hurdle: 2-1

Champion Hurdle match bet: 8-13 Eng vs Ireland 6-5



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