I have won the Champion Hurdle itself at Cheltenham just twice and both times it was on him.
There’s little doubt his biggest danger now is Rock On Ruby. This is a bit like the clash of Sir Des Champs and Long Run here on Wednesday.
Sir Des Champs beat Long Run at Cheltenham, an away fixture for him, and I could see no reason why the placings would be reversed at home.
In the Champion Hurdle last month Hurricane Fly powered clear off the home turn to beat Rock On Ruby into second spot by two and a half lengths.
Hurricane and I were away that day and I have to be confident we’ll confirm the running here at home.
He’s a great little horse and is working and looking great. On top of that the rain, which has bucketed down, is certainly not a minus.
The rain will have done no favours to Rock On Ruby, a horse I’ve ridden in the past. He always struck me as wanting a nice surface.
Willie lets Thousand Stars take his chance, alongside Hurrricane Fly, and he will run his race.
He will arrive on the back of another fine effort at Aintree, taking third behind Zarkandar and The New One.
But Aintree and two and a half miles would be more his cup of tea. I’ll still be looking for a decent effort from him, however, because Auteuil is very much on his menu in a few weeks.
Michael Winters runs Rebel Fitz, but you’d imagine the ground will be against this smart horse also.
The bottom line is that I will be bitterly disappointed should Hurricane Fly fail to do the business.
I’ve gone for Immediate Response, in preference to Terminal, in what looks a hugely competitive two miles and five handicap chase.
Immediate Response is Patrick Mullins’ ride, but 10-10 is about 4lbs below his comfort zone. The horse won well enough at Clonmel last time.
Terminal has smart form, beating Tofino Bay at Navan and finishing fifth to Lord Windermere in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. But I’ve deserted him, on the basis that 11-9 will just find him out.
Another decision had to be made for a three miles and six handicap chase, between Vesper Bell and Quiscover Fontaine and I have gone for the former.
Vesper Bell won his novice chase around here and was seventh in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham.
I fancied Quiscover Fontaine as an outsider for the Grand National at Aintree, but he ran badly to trail in 16th of the 17 finishers.
That was only 20 days ago, whereas Vesper Bell has enjoyed a much bigger break and that was the clincher.
Pont Alexandre will be on a retrieving mission in a Grade 1 novice hurdle, having performed way below expectations in the Neptune at Cheltenham.
We were confident travelling, but he was well beaten into third behind The New One and Rule The World.
I think the whole occasion just got to him and he ran nowhere near his true ability, at least I hope so.
I know all his form is going left-handed, but right-handed will help. He does tend to jump a fraction to his right.
If the real Pont Alexandre turns up, the one that scored in a canter at Navan and Leopardstown, then he’ll win.
But you’re on a wing and a prayer with horses at this point of the season, as we have already seen this week with the likes of Champagne Fever, Back In Focus and Boston Bob.
The biggest danger, I think, lives just six doors away from him at Willie’s, Un Atout.
He was also a bit disappointing at Cheltenham, finishing a well-beaten fourth behind Champagne Fever in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
He got far too lit up in that race and a bad mistake at the third last was no help either.
All I will say is that he is in some shape at home right now.
I end my afternoon on Un de Sceaux in a novice hurdle. He ran very free on his Irish debut on this track, but was still able to win by six lengths.
The five-year-old does need to settle down and mature and will definitely benefit from a summer’s grass.
But right now he’s a fair horse, with a big engine. I believe he would like better ground, but still think him more than capable of at least going very close.