THERE are many myths about the Cheltenham Festival, but the most annoying is, by far, people’s obsession with ‘The Hill’.
It’s a test, sure, but the pundits and punters who wax lyrical about it are probably the type of people who believe in the Loch Ness monster, the earth being flat or that every year good old Saint Nick defies the laws of physics when visiting over a billion homes in one night!
The TimesConstitution Hill made the Cheltenham Hill look easy – but is it overrated anyway?[/caption]
Spoiler alert: There have been seven ‘official sightings’ of Nessie this year alone — I kid you not — I would love to know who decides which sightings are ‘official’.
It’s probably the same people who think Mexico are in possession of a pair of mummified aliens — for some reason they don’t look like E.T. do they?
Anyway, back to the business in hand.
Anybody talking about the Cheltenham Hill as if it were Mount Everest is talking out of an orifice.
For the doubters, here are the facts: Cheltenham is a unique track because it has two different courses — the Old and New.
They demand different qualities, but like most premier tracks, both are a serious test of speed and stamina.
I have picked the Champion Hurdle trip of two miles and a half furlong. This will allow us to work out a standard time to compare to other top courses.
Course and Time
Cheltenham – 3min 49s
Ascot – 3min 52s
Newbury – 3min 47s
Sandown – 3min 58s
Leopardstown – 3min 52s
Navan – 3min 55s
Punchestown – 3min 51s
As you can see, the times for each track is more than compatible with Cheltenham — especially in Ireland, where their tracks are arguably more demanding stamina-wise.
Obviously, there are other factors to consider at the Festival but please, please let the myth of ‘The Hill’ forever be laid to waste.
TULLYHILL is right at the top of my ante-post list.
This gorgeous grey – trained by Willie MUllins – will reach the top over obstacles.
He cost £220,000 but looked worth every penny as he won his bumper hard-held at Gowran in March.
Yorkhill and Bob Olinger both won that race before going on to win the Ballymore a year later.
So it’s £15 each-way on Tullyhill at 12-1 for the Ballymore and £20 win as a saver at 8-1 in the Supreme courtesy of my friends at Betfair.
CHAMPION Bumper winners (A Dream To Share) have a modest record in the Supreme.
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