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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Ladbrokes make Yorkhill 11-8 chance to run in Champion Hurdle

Yorkhill puts in another left-handed leap on his way to defeat at Fairyhouse
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There are few horses to compare to Yorkhill when it comes to sparking debate and Ladbrokes have set the 2018 Cheltenham Festival ball rolling nice and early by opening a market on which race he will run in next March.

Willie Mullins' talented seven-year-old won the Grade 1 JLT Novices' Chase at this year's festival but sparked questions about whether his future lies over hurdles or fences after putting in an alarming round of jumping that saw him throw away victory in the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse last weekend.

Ladbrokes are of the opinion the Stan James Champion Hurdle will be Yorkhill's landing spot next year, making the opening day feature the 11-8 favourite and rating him an 8-1 chance to win it.

Addressing the matter in his Racing Post column, Mullins said: "There are plenty of positives for hurdling with him next season. He jumps hurdles very well and the faster pace in hurdle races would suit him.

"We've always thought he had what it takes to be a serious Champion Hurdle contender and that could be the way we go with him. We'll give it plenty more thought before deciding."

The market itself is a measure of the extraordinary talent of Yorkhill, with the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup next in at 13-8, while it is 4-1 he contests the Ryanair Chase, 7-1 the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase or 33-1 the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle.

Ladbrokes' Nicola McGeady said: "Yorkhill’s performance at Fairyhouse was nothing short of bizarre so there is a lot of interest in what Willie Mullins will do with him next. Judging by his latest comments, the odds suggest the Champion Hurdle is his most likely destination."

Yorkhill’s performance at Fairyhouse was nothing short of bizarre so there is a lot of interest in what Willie Mullins will do with him next
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