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Champion Hurdle 2020 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.

3:30

Tuesday 10 March

Distance: 16f 87y Age: 4yo + Prize: £470250 Going: Soft (Heavy in places)

FORM
ENTRY
SILK HORSE
JOCKEY & TRAINER
AGE
WGT
ODDS

1
jockey silks 1. BALLYANDY
J: Sam Twiston-Davies
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
9
11-10
Second to Call Me Lord in International and third to Epatante at Kempton before resuming winning ways when edging out Pentland Hills (Cornerstone Lad third) at Haydock latest. Ought to give running.
33 stars

2
jockey silks 2. CALL ME LORD (FR)
J: James Bowen
T: Nicky Henderson
7
11-10
Edged out Ballyandy when taking International here in November. Respectable second in Sandown listed last month and each-way shout in an open year.
33 stars

3
jockey silks 3. CILAOS EMERY (FR)
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
8
11-10
Returned to hurdles after early fall in race won by stablemate Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown at the beginning of February and won readily at Gowran 25 days ago. Supplemented for £22,500 last week.
44 stars

4
jockey silks 4. COEUR SUBLIME (IRE)
J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
5
11-10
Second to Pentland Hills in last year's Triumph. Reappeared with Down Royal Grade 2 win but put in place by Sharjah at Leopardstown over Christmas. Had wind surgery since. Also tongue tied first time.
22 stars

5
jockey silks 5. CORNERSTONE LAD
J: Henry Brooke
T: Micky Hammond
6
11-10
Lowered the colours of Buveur d'Air in the Fighting Fifth in November. Conceded weight and performed just as well when close third to Ballyandy and Pentland Hills at Haydock since.
33 stars

6
jockey silks 6. DARASSO (FR)
J: M. P. Walsh
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien, Ireland
7
11-10
Smart hurdler/chaser who was last of 4 behind a few of these rivals on his Haydock return but bounced back to form when second to Cilaos Emery at Gowran last month. Plenty on his plate here, though.
22 stars

7
jockey silks 7. DARVER STAR (IRE)
J: Jonathan Moore
T: Gavin Patrick Cromwell, Ireland
8
11-10
Big improver this season, winning first 4 starts. Even better form in defeat the last twice, having a few of these rivals in behind when second to Honeysuckle in Irish Champion latterly.
33 stars

8
jockey silks 8. FUSIL RAFFLES (FR)
J: Daryl Jacob
T: Nicky Henderson
5
11-10
Won his first 3 starts for this yard, including Punchestown 4-Y-O Grade 1 and the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton in November. Shaped as if amiss in the Christmas Hurdle and clearly much better than that.
33 stars

9
jockey silks 9. GUMBALL (FR)
J: Aidan Coleman
T: Philip Hobbs
6
11-10
Bagged Ascot listed handicap in November. Very good second in Greatwood next time but subsequent International fifth shows he's short of required standard here. Not at best in Betfair Hurdle latest.
11 stars

10
jockey silks 10. LE PATRIOTE (FR)
J: Charlie Hammond
T: Dr Richard Newland
8
11-10
Completed a hat-trick in Swinton back in May but found out in Graded company at the end of 2019. Last of 4 in Doncaster Grade 2 on chase debut in January. Blinkers replace cheekpieces. Big outsider.
11 stars

11
jockey silks 11. NOT SO SLEEPY
J: Jonathan Burke
T: Hughie Morrison
8
11-10
Much improved with all-the-way Ascot handicap wins in late 2019, latterly valuable event by 9 lengths. Latest Newbury run best ignored (unable to lead after slow start) but plenty to find on form.
22 stars

12
jockey silks 12. PENTLAND HILLS (IRE)
J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
5
11-10
Completed Triumph/Aintree 4-Y-O double last spring. Built on reappearance when just denied by Ballyandy at Haydock. Likely stronger pace should play to strengths. Has had wind surgery. Big chance.
55 stars

13
jockey silks 13. PETIT MOUCHOIR (FR)
J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
9
11-10
Front-running hurdler/chaser who has been placed at Grade 1 level over hurdles in Ireland on his last 3 starts, beaten only a length into third behind Honeysuckle in Irish Champion latest.
33 stars

14
jockey silks 14. SHARJAH (FR)
J: Mr P. W. Mullins
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
7
11-10
Better than ever when winning Grade 1 at Leopardstown in December by 3¾ lengths from Petit Mouchoir. Can't have been right when only sixth in Irish Champion back there since. Capable of bouncing back.
33 stars

15
jockey silks 15. SILVER STREAK (IRE)
J: Adam Wedge
T: Evan Williams
7
11-10
Most consistent at a high level last term, including third in this race. Kempton listed winner on return and another fine effort when second at Epatante there over Christmas. Likely to go well again.
44 stars

16
jockey silks 16. SUPASUNDAE
J: Robbie Power
T: Mrs J. Harrington, Ireland
10
11-10
Former Irish Champion winner who bagged another Grade 1 success at Aintree last spring. Shaped as if retaining his ability when fourth in this year's Irish Champion on reappearance. Each-way claims.
44 stars

17
jockey silks 17. EPATANTE (FR)
J: Barry Geraghty
T: Nicky Henderson
6
11-3
Grade 1 bumper winner in France who has won 4 of her 5 starts over hurdles, looking every inch a strong Champion Hurdle contender when smooth 5-length winner of Christmas Hurdle at Kempton last time.
44 stars

Analyst's Verdict

Nicky Henderson has a strong hand as he bids for an eighth win. PENTLAND HILLS was undone by his failure to settle in a steadily-run race at Haydock last time but a likely truer pace here should see him in a better light and he can improve past stablemate Epatante, who was so impressive in the Christmas Hurdle. Supasundae and Silver Streak should be involved in the battle for minor honours.

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 2020 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 (2020)

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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