Leading owner Rich Ricci has raised the possibility of supplementing Benie Des Dieux for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham.
The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old presently holds early entries in the Festival Mares’ Hurdle and the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle — but Ricci has not entirely ruled out the two-mile race, the betting market has spoke highly of her this morning, backed into 11/4 from 8/1. Benie Des Dieux put herself in line for the Festival with a 21-length romp in the Galmoy Hurdle over three miles at Gowran last month, this was her first start for 250 days; which was quite a performance on seasonal reappearance with all things considered.
Ricci told Racing TV on Sunday :
“I haven’t spoken to Willie yet. Would we supplement her for the Champion Hurdle? I don’t know if she’ll be fast enough, but it’s something you’ll have to take into consideration.
He then added; “She’s very good over a two and a half and three, but it reminds me a bit of Annie Power in the Stayers’ and that was a mistake. We should have gone for the Champion Hurdle. We haven’t had a conversation about it, but just given how open the Champion Hurdle is, you would have to think about it if she is a two-miler. “We’ll have to see, but it unquestionably has to be on the table at this stage.”
If Benie Des Dieux turned not up in the champion hurdle, she wouldn’t look out of place; at time she travels almost a bit too well but she’s so quick over a fence, so she could steal a few lengths at each one on her rivals; the 11/4 currently with most firms on offer will not last long, I’d expect her to be an even money shot on the day. Willie Mullin once described this mare as being a ‘female version of Douvan’ now is her time to shine in the champion hurdle. She really looks to be one of the banker bets where ever she turns up.