Racing: Tote cut odds for Istabraq

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The Independent Online

A possible record fourth success in the Champion Hurdle for Istabraq was a focus of punters' attentions yesterday. The Cheltenham Festival may still be four months away, but the Tote have seen a sustained period of interest in Aidan O'Brien's nine-year-old and he has been cut from 7-4 to 11-8 favourite as a result.

"The way money has been pouring in, punters have no doubt that he can pull off a fourth consecutive victory come March," said Jeremy Scott, a Tote spokesman. "They have been very keen to snap up the 7-4 we were offering. We saw a surge in interest again this morning, including one bet of £10,000."

Istabraq landed his fourth consecutive AIG (Europe) Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January, but hopes of a history-making fourth championship at Cheltenham were dashed because of foot-and-mouth restrictions in Ireland and the abandonment of the Festival. Istabraq is expected to reappear in the December Festival Hurdle at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting.

SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE: Latest odds (Tote Bookmakers): 11-8 Istabraq, 10-1 Azertyuiop, Jair du Cochet, Ned Kelly, 12-1 Landing Light, 14-1 Westender, 16-1 Ansar, Bilboa, Moscow Flyer, 20-1 Geos, 25-1 Arctic Owl, Montalcino, 33-1 others

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