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Cheltenham

  • 15:20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle 3m

  • (Grade 1) £275,000 added 4yo+ 13 ran
  • Winner £156,612 2nd £58,768 3rd £29,425 4th £14,658
  • Going: Good to Soft (Good in places; Cross Country: Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 6m 24.90s
  • Off time: 15:21:26

Nick Williams believes the World Hurdle is anything but a two horse race

Last Updated: 14/03/13 2:09pm

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Reve De Sivola reopposes Oscar Whisky on Thursday afternoon

Reve De Sivola reopposes Oscar Whisky on Thursday afternoon

Nick Williams believes Thursday's Ladbrokes World Hurdle is far from a two-horse race.

With three-time winner Big Buck's sidelined by injury, the stayers' championship is an open affair this term, although Williams' Reve De Sivola and the Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky top the market.

The pair fought out a great finish to the Cleeve Hurdle on this course in January, with Reve De Sivola edging out Oscar Whisky by just a neck.

Williams said: "It's a big, open race, it's certainly not a two-horse race, and the Festival has not been a lucky place for us so far.

"I don't worry too much about the opposition, I just want to get my horse there in one piece.

"I rushed him over fences, really because there aren't the options for the staying hurdlers if you are the third or fourth best and you want to win races. But with hindsight, I should have kept him over hurdles."

Oscar Whisky was sent off second favourite behind Big Buck's 12 months ago but disappointed in fifth place.

Henderson is convinced Dai Walter's horse was not right that day, though he believes Oscar Whisky is better over slightly shorter.

"Two and a half is his optimum trip but he has to try to do this. We were going to miss Cheltenham altogether but the absence of Big Buck's has opened it up for everybody," he said.

"I don't think he was right last year, he was very distressed after the race and he wouldn't have won over two and a half, which was very odd.

"We're not worried about the ground, he's won on soft ground over two and a half, and I'm not so worried about stamina. Barry can be more aggressive this time, but I think it's a wide-open race."

Paul Nicholls pins his hopes on Wonderful Charm and Celestial Halo, who carries the Big Buck's colours of the Stewart Family.

"Wonderful Charm had good form in France, we liked him at home, Ruby liked him when he rode him work the other day and we thought if you don't shoot, you don't win," said Nicholls.

"We think he'll run a big race, but whether he'll stay, we don't know. Because he haven't run him over the winter, we don't know what we've got."

Donald McCain remains convinced that Peddlers Cross retains his ability.

"In both his races this season he's travelled like a very good horse and not done a lot off the bridle and that's a little bit his way. He can be quite switched off when he hits the front," said the Cholmondeley handler.

"The signs at home are positive and Jason was very happy the last day, but there's only one place we'll find out if he's the horse he was."

Tony McCoy is hoping that better ground will help Get Me Out Of Here as he steps up to three miles for the first time.

"I would have given him a good each-way chance on good ground but he's run twice on heavy ground this year and run deplorably. He's very ground dependent," he said.

Having had to play second fiddle to dual Champion Hurdle hero Hurricane Fly four times earlier in his career, Solwhit goes for glory at this longer trip.

The Charles Byrnes-trained gelding is unquestionably a class act with six Grade One victories to his name but he has been on the comeback trail lately following almost two years off the track.

"He travelled well and is in good form over there. We are hoping for a good run," said Byrnes.

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