Kilcooley won the Bet365 Yorkshire Hurdle today by 13 lengths from ex-Champion Hurdler Rock on Ruby (who was too keen for too long and ran out of juice). I was very impressed by the winner, even more so than I was with Cole Harden when he won it last year. The 33s they went about Cole Harden for the World Hurdle hasn’t appeared, but you can get not far off that with the 25s offered by Skybet (Kilcooley is as low as 14s elsewhere). He went into this race on a 9lbs higher rating than Cole Harden did, and when reassessed, there is every chance he’ll be rated higher than the current World Hurdle Champion, who is on 164 (Kilcooley started today on 159).
Well suited by the soft ground, which he’s unlikely to get in March, I wouldn’t be misled into thinking that this is why Kilcooley looked so good today. He’s only 6 and seems to be a solidly improving young horse whose connections have just discovered relishes a stamina test. He has form on good ground. What he might need, judging by last season, is a fair amount of time between races. He certainly gave everything today. Kilcooley, whose trainer, C Longsdon says the World Hurdle will now be on the menu, holds strong appeal as the first top value bet for Cheltenham 2016.