The Grade One Champion Hurdle is the feature contest on day one (Tuesday) of the Cheltenham Festival and is run over 2m on the old course. Here at JUICESTORM we give you the key Champion Hurdle trends to help you pick the winner based on past statistics. Use these trends to find the best profiles – including age, trainer, current form etc, of recent Champion Hurdle winners.
The Champion Hurdle is recognised as the most prestigious hurdling race of the jumps season and is currently sponsored by leading bookmaker Unibet.
The 2020 Champion Hurdle looks set-up to be another cracker with the powerful Nicky Henderson yard always a stable to look out for – they’ve won it seven times in the past.
Willie Mullins is the other handler to note with four wins in the last eight runnings and is sure to be well represented again in 2020.
Check out the recent winners and we give you the key Champion Hurdle trends to look out for ahead of the 2020 renewal – this year run on Tuesday 10th March.
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Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle Winners
2019 – ESPOIR D’ALLEN (16/1)
2018 – BUVEUR D’AIR (4/6 FAV)
2017 – BUVEUR D’AIR (5/1)
2016 – ANNIE POWER (5/2 fav)
2015 – FAUGHEEN (4/5 fav)
2014 – JEZKI (9/1)
2013 – HURRICANE FLY (13/8 fav)
2012 – ROCK ON RUBY (11/1)
2011 – HURRICANE FLY (11/4 fav)
2010 – BINOCULAR (9/1)
2009 – PUNJABI (22/1)
2008 – KATCHIT (10/1)
2007 – SUBLIMITY (16/1)
2006 – BRAVE INCA (7/4 fav)
2005 – HARDY EUSTACE (7/2 jfav)
2004 – HARDY EUSTACE (33/1)
2003 – ROOSTER BOOSTER (9/2)
Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle Betting Trends
16/17 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
15/17 – Had raced at Cheltenham before
15/17 – Had raced within the last 7 weeks
15/17 – Aged 8 or younger
14/17 – Rated 159 or higher
13/17 – Had finished in the top 4 in a Cheltenham Festival race the season before
13/17 – Had won 6 or more times over hurdles before
13/17 – Won last time out
11/17 – Placed favourites
10/17 – Had won at Cheltenham before
10/17 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
10/17 – Irish bred winners
10/17 – Irish trained winners
9/17 – Winning distance – 2 1/2 lengths or more
8/17 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
7/17 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
6/17 – Ran in the previous season’s Champion Hurdle
6/17 – Had won a race at the Cheltenham Festival the previous season
4/17 – Trained by Willie Mullins
4/17 – Trained by Nicky Henderson (has won the race 7 times in all)
The average winning SP in the last 17 runnings is 9/1
Champion Hurdle Stats:
5 year-olds are just 3 from 103 since 1985
30 of the last 36 winners won their previous race
23 of the last 34 winners were placed in the top 4 at the previous season’s Cheltenham Festival
22 of the last 24 winners had a race that calendar year (i.e we are looking for horses that have run in 2020)
26 of the last 29 winners hailed from the first 6 in the betting market
Just 3 of the last 29 Christmas Hurdle winners has gone onto win the Champion Hurdle that season
Irish-trained horses have won 13 of the last 21 renewals
Champion Hurdle – 22 Year Trends
13/22 – Irish-trained winners
9/22 – British-trained winners
Willie Mullins (Ire) has trained 4 of the last 9 winners
Nicky Henderson (UK) has trained 4 of the last 11 winners
JUICESTORM VERDICT: Not a vintage Champion Hurdle, but that comment has probably applied to the last three renewals too! Since winning the Christmas Hurdle back in December, the Henderson-trained Epatante has topped the market, but with scares of coughing in recent weeks that’s not ideal preparation in my book. Yes, she was an impressive winner of the Christmas Hurdle last time but Kempton is a totally different track to Cheltenham – this is backed up with only 3 of the last 27 Xmas Hurdle winners going onto win the Champion Hurdle – in more recent years Faugheen and Buveur d’Air and the only two. She also gets the handy 7lbs mares’ allowance here and Annie Power, when winning in 2016, showed how valuable that was to have. She’s got a big chance but having flopped at the Festival in the Mares’ race last season – albeit Henderson blaming that on her having a flu jab – I’m not so sure she’s any value. Sharjah is the top-rated in the field but needs to bounce back from a dire effort at Leopardstown last time out, while Henderson also has last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner – Pentland Hills – in the race. We saw a 5 year-old win the race in 2019, but as we all know we don’t see many – it’s still only 2-from-102 – so that rules Pentland Hills out for me. Coeur Sublime and Fusil Raffles are two other 5 year-olds in the race. I think SUPASUNDAE (e/w) can go well, but probably not win it. This consistent 10 year-old will have the age stats against him, but the talk is that he’s come on a lot for his recent fourth in Ireland and in a poor renewal could be the each-way value in the race. He likes the track and stays a lot further than this 2m trip – he’ll just need to keep tabs on them during the first half of the race. If he does, then his proven stamina will be a big asset up the hill. A case can be made for Ballyandy to place too but not win – he’s another course winner that rarely runs a bad race but is just shy of the top level. Darver Star is another to note, but I think the Willie Mullins-trained CILAOS EMERY, who was recently supplemented for the race at a cost of around £22k, looks a top alternative to the likely favourite. He’s rated the same as Epatante, but, of course, has to give away 7lbs so that won’t be easy. However, he’s done little wrong this season winning over fences and hurdles and has now won 7 of his 12 starts (both codes). He’s tasted the Festival before too, when fifth in the 2017 Supreme and won’t mind the soft ground. A recent easy win at Gowran Park will have him spot-on for this – he’ll be looking to give trainer Willie Mullins his fifth win in the race since 2011. Finally, the other to have a small saver on is SILVER STEAK (e/w). This 7 year-old never runs a bad race. Yes, he’s another that is just short of top class, but he was third in the race last year at 80/1 and did you know, from three runs here at Cheltenham he’s yet to finish out of the top three! He was only 5 lengths behind Epatante in the Xmas Hurdle last time, but this track is likely to suit him better. Okay, it will be a poor renewal if he actually wins, but as a place or each-way alternative to those at the head of the market I think he ticks a lot of boxes.
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