Cheltenham 2015: Ditcheat seeking global success
Paul Nicholls fires two barrels in Zarkandar and Saphir Du Rheu as he looks to win the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham tomorrow for a fifth time.
All of the Ditcheat trainer’s four wins in the three-mile championship to date came from the brilliant Big Buck’s from 2009 to 2012, and his two runners head the market at around 4-1 in what looks a very open year.
Zarkandar won a Grade One at Auteuil in November before being just touched off by Reve De Sivola in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December, while Saphir Du Rheu narrowly defeated the latter in the Cleeve Hurdle over the course and distance in January.
There is a strong Irish representation in a 17-runner field, with Abbyssial, Dedigout, Jetson, Lieutenant Colonel, Monksland, Tiger Roll and Zaidpour.
Reve De Sivola makes his third successive appearance in the race, while the field is completed by At Fishers Cross, Aubusson, Blue Fashion, Cole Harden, Seeyouatmidnight, Un Temps Pour Tout and Whisper.
The five withdrawals were Briar Hill, Pont Alexandre, Rock On Ruby, Un Atout and Annie Power, who had a shocking fall at the last yesterday in the Mares’ Hurdle when clear on the way to victory.