Will the ‘curse’ of Montjeu strike Hurricane Fly?
I’ve read numerous comments along the lines of “You can forget Hurricane Fly for the Champion Hurdle, no Montjeu has ever won at Cheltenham”
The statement is true. No horse sired by Montjeu has won at the track. But as with many ‘lazy’ stats, things look different when you dig a bit deeper.
Only 26 of Montjeu’s stock have run at Cheltenham. Among them they’ve amassed 44 runs there.
15 of the 26 have run at the Festival, contesting 21 races.
Pace Shot finished 4th of 17 to Detroit City in The Triumph, beaten under 10 lengths. He was 100/1 SP (500 on Betfair) so arguably ‘outran’ his price.
Blue Bajan was 6th of 22 to Cap Cee Bee in The Supreme, beaten under 16 lengths; his form comment: “kept on approaching last and stayed on run-in but no chance with leaders” His relevant SP and Betfair SP – 33/38
Won in The Dark was 3rd of 14 to Celestial Halo in The Triumph, beaten under 5 lengths: “stayed on to chase leading duo 2 out, kept on but no impression soon after” SPs 16/27
Mon Michel was 8th of 22 in The County; he started at just 6/1 and was beaten under 13 lengths
Shortest was Alexander Severus who was 5/2 fav when finishing 4th in the Fred Winter (never raced again): “led going well after 2 out, ridden last, headed soon after and soon no extra”
Green Mile was 5th of 22, beaten 8 lengths, in The Pertemps; SPs: 8/10.5
Gloucester‘s best performance from three runs at the Festival was 6th of 28 in The County. SPs 50/95
Noble Prince finished a head in front of Gloucester that day; SPs: 11/14
It seems to me that a number of them ‘outran their price’, though a couple did worse than expected based on the market.
Hurricane Fly’s Champion Hurdle chances
I backed Hurricane Fly earlier in the season for the Champion. As I mention in my main Champion Hurdle Article, after seeing the way he finished last time out, I now suspect he will not ‘get up the hill’ if the race is run at its usual hot pace. But I’d never argue that this is because he is by Montjeu – there is simply no evidence for it.
I suspect what will scupper HF’s chances in the big one is that his killer acceleration can’t be sustained long enough on the climb to the post. Many more ‘grinders’ win Champion Hurdles than turn-of-foot specialists.
I hope I’m wrong so I can collect on him and the Montjeu moaners can be silenced.
Montjeu’s progeny have only a slightly better record on the flat than over jumps:
330 wins from 2571 flat races (13%)
153 wins over jumps, from 1235 races (12%)
He’s sired 45 Group winners and 39 Listed winners. He himself won over £2.2m in total prize money. Among his top class victories were an Arc on heavy ground and a King George on good to firm.
So, ignore the Montjeu naysayers, but don’t be surprised if Hurricane Fly doesn’t win at The Festival
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