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The Scottish Champion Hurdle is the third race on Saturday’s card at Ayr. The race will be run over two miles and is due to be contested by some very decent hurdles.
Anna Bunina looking to bounce back
Anna Bunina won this rather prestigious race last year and the mare is back to defend her crown. After a couple of modest efforts, she took her form to a new level to claim this prize, while she has since followed up with a string of wins in Ireland, including on the flat.
In February, the seven-year-old ran a with credit behind Queens Brook in a Grade 3 over further at Punchestown, while she wasn’t disgraced when finishing ninth (of 24) the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last time out. However, she remains markedly above her last winning mark, and even with mares’ allowance here, she may find a couple too good this time around.
Paul Nicholls, who has won this race before and often hit the places, has a decent chance here it seems, as he saddles Rubaud, who enjoyed himself in the winter, winning twice at Taunton, before landing a Grade 2 novice event at Kempton in February. This is tougher, but he may have more to give and probably shouldn’t be ruled out for his powerful yard.
Look out for the Colonel
Colonel Mustard has hinted that he’s capable of landing a nice prize and this could be his time to strike. The eight-year-old arrives here off the back of an excellent keeping-on second at Kelso last time out. There’s was lots of quality in that contest and he travelled like the best horse in the race, before possibly being left too much to do at the death.
The Irish raider, whose third in the 2022 County Hurdle rates as some of the best form in this race, lost nothing in defeat and now looks primed for a serious tilt at this. For me, he’s the most likely winner and worthy favourite, so much so that odds of 9/2 may even represent a shade of value. Don’t be surprised if he goes off shorter.
Best Bet: Colonel Mustard to Win @ 9/2
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