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 TRAINERS-QUOTES 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 Stan James.
The 2018 renewal looks set-up to be another cracker with the current champ – Buveur D’Air – looking to become the first horse since Hardy Eustace to successfully defend his Champion Hurdle crown and in the process give trainer Nicky Henderson his seventh win in the race.
Did you know 13 of the last 15 Champion Hurdle winners were aged 8 or younger?
Check out the recent winners and we give you the key Champion Hurdle trends to look out for ahead of the 2018 renewal – this year run on Tuesday 13th March 2018.
Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle Winners
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
14/15 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
14/15 – Had raced at Cheltenham before
13/15 – Had raced within the last 7 weeks
13/15 – Aged 8 or younger
12/15 – Rated 159 or higher
12/15 – Had finished in the top 4 in a Cheltenham Festival race the season before
11/15 – Had won 6 or more times over hurdles before
11/15 – Won last time out
10/15 – Irish bred winners
10/15 – Placed favourites
9/15 – Had won at Cheltenham before
9/15 – Irish trained winners
9/15 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
8/15 – Winning distance – 2 1/2 lengths or more
7/15 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
6/15 - Winning favourites (1 joint)
5/15 – Ran in the previous season’s Champion Hurdle
5/15 – Had won a race at the Cheltenham Festival the previous season
4/15 – Trained by Willie Mullins
3/15 – Trained by Nicky Henderson (has won the race 6 times in all)
The average winning SP in the last 15 runnings is 9/1
Champion Hurdle Stats:
5 year-olds are just 2 from 101 since 1985
28 of the last 34 winners won their previous race
22 of the last 32 winners were placed in the top 4 at the previous season’s Cheltenham Festival
20 of the last 22 winners had a race that calendar year (i.e we are looking for horses that have run in 2018)
24 of the last 27 winners hailed from the first 6 in the betting market
Just 2 of the last 27 Christmas Hurdle winners has gone onto win the Champion Hurdle that season (But Faugheen did the double in 2014-15)
Irish-trained horses have won 12 of the last 20 renewals
12/20 – Irish-trained winners
8/20 – British-trained winners
Willie Mullins (Ire) has trained 4 of the last 7 winners
Nicky Henderson (UK) has trained 3 of the last 9 winners
Okay, this shouldn’t take long. If BUVEUR D’AIR stays on his feet then he should be collecting his second Champion Hurdle – right? Well, with little opposition in the race then it’s hard to disagree with that statement. Nicky Henderson’s 7 year-old has won his four races since landing this 12 months ago and despite many feeling he’s not really been tested, he can do little more than win. He’s been heavily odds-on in all four of his wins this season, but with this division very thin on the ground of anything coming through the ranks then this should be a penalty-kick for the current champ. He’ll be looking to become the first horse to successfully defend his Champion Hurdle crown since Hardy Eustace won the race back-to-back in 2004 & 2005. Yes, we are still likely to see the 2015 champion – Faugheen – run in the race and it might be foolish to ignore the Machine. However, from what we’ve seen this season the machine might need a bit of patching-up and at the age of 10 now doesn’t look the same horse we saw mopping up these big Grade One 2m hurdles a few seasons ago. Of course, the return to Cheltenham could spark him back to life – don’t forget, he’s never lost here (2-from-2), but it is worth pointing out that since 1927 we’ve only seen two winners aged 10 or older! There is one better alternative to Buveur D’Air though – his stablemate MY TENT OR YOURS (to be placed). Okay, this horse at 11 years-old is even older than Faugheen, and let’s get one thing straight – I’m not saying he’s going to win. However, he’s got a cracking hurdles record at being placed and with little else in the race he looks likely to fill one of the places again here. He was runner-up last year, plus twice before that in this race and we can be sure Henderson will have him ready to do himself justice again.
Did you know, My Tent Or Yours has also raced 20 times over hurdles and been placed in the top three on 19 occasions? Impressive stats! He’s won 7 of those and been second 9 times, so that’s a stonking 80% strike-rate of finishing in the top two from his 20 outings over the sticks – not bad, hey?
This will be his fourth run in the race, and his fifth time at the Festival, but with an overall Cheltenham track record that reads 2-2-2-2-2-1 then surely, he’s got to be a cracking alternative just to be placed over the hot-pot and current champion Buveur D’Air.
Of the rest, last season’s JLT Novices’ Chase winner Yorkhill, who also landed the 2016 Neptune, is an interesting addition to the race, but this Willie Mullins-trained runner has been well below-par in his last two runs so backing him would require a fair bit of faith. Yes, his Festival record is outstanding and you couldn’t totally rule him out based on that, while the return to hurdles could spark him back to life – we’ll see, but until we see that on form again on the track the safest option is to rule him out.
BEST BET: BUVEUR D’AIR
BEST OF THE REST: MY TENT OR YOURS