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Champion Hurdle 2021 Racecard

The Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race which takes place each year during the Cheltenham Festival in March, and is the feature race on day one of the meeting, which is also known as Champion Day. Open to horses aged four years or older, the Champion Hurdle is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about two miles and half a furlong (2 miles and 87 yards), with eight hurdles to be jumped.

3:05 Tue 16 Mar CHAMPION HURDLE

Distance: 16f 87y Age: 4yo + Prize: £337,500 Going: Gd/Sft

Analyst's Verdict

HONEYSUCKLE looked better than ever when easily landing the Irish Champion last month and is taken to get the better of last year's winner Epatante and extend her unbeaten record to 11. Goshen put himself firmly back in the mix for this with his impressive Kingwell success and looks best of the remainder.

ENTRY
FORM
SILKS HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
1
jockey silks 1. ABACADABRAS (FR)
J: J. W. Kennedy
T: Mrs Denise Foster, Ireland
7
11-10
* * *
* * *
Smart hurdler who disappointed when 23¾ lengths fifth to Sharjah in Matheson at Leopardstown over Christmas. Back on song when second in Irish Champion since but Honeysuckle 10 lengths ahead of him.
2
jockey silks 2. ASPIRE TOWER (IRE)
J: Robbie Power
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
5
11-10
* *
* *
Front runner who was second in last year's Triumph. Improved again when accounting for Abacadabras in Down Royal Grade 2 on reappearance and fine second to Sharjah in Matheson since.
3
jockey silks 3. GOSHEN (FR)
J: Jamie Moore
T: Gary Moore
5
11-10
* * * *
* * * *
Had the 2020 Triumph at mercy before an unseat at the last. Suffered fibrillating heart when disappointing in International on hurdle return but well and truly back on track in Kingwell last month.
4
jockey silks 4. JAMES DU BERLAIS (FR)
J: Daryl Jacob
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
5
11-10
* * *
* * *
Smart hurdler for Robert Collet in France, winning 3 times at listed/Graded level in first half of the season. Ended his time over there with close second in Auteuil Grade 1 in November. Bit to find.
5
jockey silks 5. NOT SO SLEEPY
J: Jonathan Burke
T: Hughie Morrison
9
11-10
*
*
Front-runner who has won back-to-back renewals of the Betfair Exchange Trophy (Handicap) at Ascot but needs to raise his game significantly to get involved at this level. Pulled up in this last year.
6
jockey silks 6. SALDIER (FR)
J: D. E. Mullins
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
7
11-10
*
*
Smart at his best but beaten a long way in Matheson and Irish Champion since returning from over a year on the sidelines. Cheekpieces on first time. Plenty to prove at present.
7
jockey silks 7. SHARJAH (FR)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
8
11-10
* * *
* * *
Won a third successive Matheson at Leopardstown in December. Well-held third to Honeysuckle in Irish Champion since but bounced back from poor run in that last year to chase home Epatante in this.
8
jockey silks 8. SILVER STREAK (IRE)
J: Tom O'Brien
T: Evan Williams
8
11-10
* * *
* * *
Placed in 2019 running of this but well behind Epatante last year. Beat that rival in Christmas Hurdle at Kempton but did enjoy run of race from the front. Probably more a place than win contender.
9
jockey silks 9. EPATANTE (FR)
J: Aidan Coleman
T: Nicky Henderson
7
11-3
* * * *
* * * *
Decisive winner of this race last year. Very impressive in Fighting Fifth on return and excuses when beaten by Silver Streak at Kempton over Christmas. Likely to make bold bid to defend her crown.
10
jockey silks 10. HONEYSUCKLE
J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
7
11-3
* * * * *
* * * * *
Produced an outstanding performance when beating Benie des Dieux at 2020 Festival and in even better form when easily making it a perfect 10-10 over hurdles in Irish Champion latest. Leading claims.

Betting Forecast : 9/4 2.25 HONEYSUCKLE, 5/2 2.5 EPATANTE, 9/2 4.5 GOSHEN, 12/1 12 SILVER STREAK, 16/1 16 ABACADABRAS, 18/1 18 SHARJAH, 22/1 22 ASPIRE TOWER, 33/1 33 JAMES DU BERLAIS, 80/1 80 NOT SO SLEEPY, 100/1 100 SALDIER

The first Champion Hurdle was run in 1927, and its inaugural winner, Blaris, was awarded prize money of £365.

In comparison, the 2019 renewal of the Champion Hurdle had a total prize money of £450,000, with over £250,000 going to the connections of the winning horse.

The Champion Hurdle was cancelled twice during World War II, but the following years saw a golden period for the race, with National Spirit, Hatton's Grace and Sir Ken among the greatest ever hurdlers.

Indeed, the first two horses have races named after them, at Fontwell and Fairyhouse, respectively.

The 1970s featured the third Champion Hurdle triple winner Persian War and the exploits of double champions in Night Nurse, Monksfield, Bula and Comedy of Errors, who was the first horse to win two non-consecutive titles.

The 1984 winner, Dawn Run, became the second mare to win the Champion Hurdle.

In the same year she also won the Irish and French versions of the event, and two seasons later she won the most prestigious chase in National Hunt racing, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. She remains the only horse to have completed the Champion Hurdle-Gold Cup double.

From 1985 to 1987 the Champion Hurdle was dominated by See You Then, who became the event's fourth three-time winner.

The most recent triple winner of the Champion Hurdle was Istabraq , whose successes came in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

After the following year’s Cheltenham Festival was called off due to foot-and-mouth disease, Istabraq attempted to become the first horse to win four Champion Hurdles, but was well beaten in the 2002 renewal.

The fourth and most recent mare to win the race was 2016 victor Annie Power , who became the first mare to win the race since Flakey Dove’s success in 1994. Annie Power was retired in 2017 having won all but two of her 17 appearances on the racecourse.

In terms of Timeform ratings this century, Annie Power’s winning performance was one of the lesser efforts, though her four and a half length beating of the 2014 runner-up My Tent Or Yours was still a high-class effort.

It was on a par with Katchit’s 2008 success, which was the first for a five-year-old since See You Then’s 1985 victory.

The best Champion Hurdle performance this century – perhaps surprisingly - was produced by Rock On Ruby , who had two-time Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly back in third, and 2010 Champion Hurdle winner Binocular back in fourth, when putting in a clear career-best effort in 2012.

Rock On Ruby’s performance was the best in the race since Istabraq in 1998. Willie Mullins’ four Champion Hurdle wins have all come this century, thanks to Hurricane Fly (2011 and 2013), Faugheen (2015) and Annie Power, but he still has some way to go to catch up with Nicky Henderson who is the leading Champion Hurdle trainer with seven wins.

As well as the three-time winner See You Then, the wins of Punjabi (2009) and Binocular (2010) have since been added to by Buveur d’Air who was victorious in both 2017 and 2018.

Buveur d’Air is owned by J.P. McManus, who now has eight wins in the race thanks to the 2019 win of Espoir d’Allen.

Ruby Walsh is the leading Champion Hurdle jockey despite having ridden none of the McManus or Henderson horses.

The most successful Champion Hurdle trainer in recent times is Nicky Henderson, who has won it seven times, with: See You Then (1985, 1986, 1987), Punjabi (2009), Binocular (2010), and Buveur D'Air (2017, 2018)

The most successful Champion Hurdle jockey in recent times is Ruby Walsh, who has won it four times, with: Hurricane Fly (2011, 2013), Faugheen (2015), Annie Power (2016) and Buveur d'Air (2017, 2018).

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Champion Hurdle 2022 FAQs

What is the distance of the Champion Hurdle?

2 miles and 87 yards

How many obstacles are jumped in the Champion Hurdle?

8

What day of the festival is the Champion Hurdle?

Day 1

What time is the Champion Hurdle?

15:30

What weights are carried for the Champion Hurdle?

11 st 2 lb (4-year-olds). 11 st 10 lb (5-year-olds +). 7 lb allowance for fillies and mares.

What is the purse for the Champion Hurdle?

£450,000 (2019)

Who is the leading jockey in the Champion Hurdle*?

Ruby Walsh

Who is the leading trainer in the Champion Hurdle*?

Nicky Henderson

Who won the Champion Hurdle?

You can check out our Champion Hurdle results page here to see a list of previous winners.

Where can I compare the odds for the Champion Hurdle?

Click the link to visit our Champion Hurdle Odds Comparison page.

*Since 1927

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CHELTENHAM COUNTDOWN 2022

Days Hours Mins Secs

HORSE SEARCH

CHELTENHAM RACES 2022

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NEXT RACE SMART STATS

22% Andrew Balding's strike rate at CHESTER since the start of the 2017 season (saddles MELODY OF LIFE)
18% Archie Watson's strike rate with handicap debutants (saddles SUPER OVER)
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