Well I hate to say I told you so but the 2014 race panned out as per my earlier blog. The sectionals from 2013 did indeed paint a clear picture and the fact that Hurricane Fly had poached a couple of soft paced trials in Ireland prior to the big festival race only served to make him even poorer value. At this moment in time next years race has an entirely different complexion to it. Hurricane will no doubt have hung his shoes up and probably retired, not that he would be a likely danger should he turn up. The new kid on the block appears to be Vautour, currently at around 7/1 and behind market leader The New One at 5/1. Vautour like Jezki and My Tent ran on the same day as the Champion hurdle and his sectionals may well paint an interesting picture of his relative standing to this years Champion crop. The overall time of Vautour was 1.2 seconds slower than Jezki but pretty much all that deficit was inflicted from the second last to the line. The difference in this final sectional was 1.28 seconds in favour of Jezki. This means they hit the second last in roughly the same time as Vautour but powered up the hill in a quicker final section. Despite ridiculous statements from the ground staff the ground was riding quick and there of course can be no gaurantee that this will be the case next year but at this stage I would not be a backer of Vautour. My Tent and Jezki are both clearly good animals but one cannot help wondering just how good they could become if both learnt to settle better. The New One seems a luckless but highly consistent horse at the moment. My suggestion previously that he is better at 2 miles was born out with his scrambling win at Aintree after Cheltenham. The three of them still appear to provide the solution to next years race.

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