As we all know, regaining a title at the Cheltenham Festival is tough going, Kauto Star managed to do that in the Gold Cup and in the history of the Champion Hurdle there is also only one candidate Comedy Of Errors who managed to grab back his title in 1975.
That’s the task facing Binocular this year and of course he also has an exceptional Champion in Hurricane Fly standing in his way also, but of late the horse has looked back to his enigmatic best especially on his last outing at Wincanton where he brushed aside a horse as good as Celestial Halo who may be exposed but you know that he provides a decent form yardstick. Those who bet on horse should remember this.
Maybe, just maybe we have learnt a little more about Binocular in his Cheltenham preparations this year, as in previous year’s we haven’t really learnt much beyond the fact that he has four legs and a heartbeat, and plenty of his victories have thrown up more questions than answers. Last year he even failed to make Cheltenham but even then in what would or could have been his Festival prep race he looked lethargic and his jumping was adequate at best. People following the 2012 Cheltenham betting tips need to bear this in mind.
Compare that with his jumping at Wincanton in what has turned out to be his prep race this time and it was slick and efficient and bore a striking resemblance to how he moved over the hurdles when winning the hurdling crown two years ago. That Cheltenham victory was the last time we saw him at his best but remember before that he had problems and was struggling to even make the Champion Hurdle. The demands of that race and the course appear to bring out the best in him and there is genuine optimism that we could be in for another dose of Binocular powering up the Cheltenham hill.
An on-song and well-prepared Binocular has every right to give Hurricane Fly something to think about and maybe the Champion Hurdle is not the one-horse race that everyone assumes it is and Binocular for all his faults and enigmatic style has a shot bat creating a little bit if history and regaining the hurdling crown.