Fusil Raffles Is The Progressive Horse In The Christmas Hurdle

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Fusil Raffles

Race horse trainers are not bullish about the horses they prepare for Grade 1 races. However, Nicky Henderson seemed to suggest Fusil Raffles could go the top in the two mile hurdling division. His opinion will be put to the test in the Christmas Hurdle at Park on Boxing Day.

ticks all the boxes for the and the double with Fusil Raffles pays +650 with Bovada. The winners will be prominent in the betting for the Champion Hurdle and .

The Christmas Hurdle and King George are the mid-season championships races for hurdlers and chasers. They are major trials for the championship contests at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Even though Kempton is a right-handed flat track while Cheltenham is undulating and left-handed, an impressive win in either race will see a horse become the ante post favourite for the most prestigious hurdle race and chase of the National Hunt season. Fusil Raffles could do just that.

The Christmas Hurdle is run over a distance of two miles and there are eight obstacles. Horses aged four and older are eligible to run. Runners carry the same weight, except for mares and fillies who receive a seven pounds allowance. and receive that weight allowance and both horses are trained by Henderson. Verdana Blue used that weight to win the 2018 Christmas Hurdle last December. However, Henderson has hinted Fusil Raffles is the better horse.

If the horse wins the Christmas Hurdle with something in hand carrying seven pounds more than the other Henderson runners, he could be installed as the new favourite for the Champion Hurdle. Klassical Dream and Saldier are leading contenders from Ireland and is another Henderson horse with the potential to win the race. Fusil Raffles will be much shorter than +900 with Bovada for the Champion Hurdle if he delivers at Kempton this Thursday.

Fusil Raffles has won over the course and distance, on the projected going and at this level. The horse has had just five career starts, all over hurdles, and has won four races and was second in the other race. Fusil Raffles won the Irish Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle at Punchestown in May. Although his highest Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 153 was produced at Wincanton in November. Fusil Raffles is progressive and can take a step forward on form in the Christmas Hurdle.

Verdana Blue is the second favourite and seven horses have won the race twice. Since 2010 Binocular and have won back-to-back Christmas Hurdles and both horses also won the Champion Hurdle. Verdana Blue has a career-high RPR of 164 which gives the horse a few pounds advantage over the favourite, Fusil Raffles is still relatively unexposed and can show enough improvement to beat Verdana Blue.

Silver Streak could be the fly in the ointment. The horse was an unconsidered outsider when finishing third in the Champion Hurdle in March, the race did not go to plan because the favourite, Buveur D'Air, fell and other leading contenders underperformed. Silver Streak finished over eight lengths in front of Verdana Blue who ran well below her best. Verdana Blue should reverse the form with Silver Streak but may still not do enough to beat Fusil Raffles who is the selection for the Christmas Hurdle.

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