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McCoy Fears Fly Most of All in Champion Field
01/02/11

Tony McCoy has been considering his potential rivals in the Stanjames.com Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on March 15, and despite him having beaten the same horse in each of his last four outings, McCoy believes that Hurricane Fly is the biggest danger of all to his mount Binocular retaining the title, writes Elliot Slater.

Binocular (left)
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Binocular

Binocular advertised his wellbeing with a smooth performance to run down front-running Overturn in the delayed Christmas Hurdle at Kempton earlier this month, casting away the doubts that followed a lack-lustre performance in finishing only third to the unbeaten Peddlers Cross in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newbury in November. McCoy believes that Binocular still has improvement to find to reach the level of his Champion Hurdle win last year but is confident that on decent ground and given the usual strong pace, everything will fall right for Nicky Henderson’s charge.

Looking at the likely opposition at Cheltenham in March, McCoy was quick to nominate the Willie Mullins-trained Hurricane Fly as the biggest danger to Binocular at Cheltenham. There has been a decidedly mixed reaction to Hurricane Fly’s four recent races against Solwhit that saw the Mullins runner triumph every time, as it has been difficult to tell if the winner is improving from race-to-race or the runner-up is deteriorating.

McCoy has no doubt though that the Irish seven-year-old has got all the qualities needed to go very close to winning the two-mile blue riband, pointing out that he stays an extra half-mile, has a turn of foot and goes on any ground.

Bookmakers and irish racing pundits make defending champion Binocular a general 3/1 favourite, with Hurricane Fly offered at 9/2, Philip Hobbs’ Menorah 5/1, and the Donald McCain-trained Peddlers Cross 11/2. They go 14/1 bar the four.

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