The Smurfit Champion Hurdle has attracted a top-class entry of 35 horses, the same number as last year, including 13 entries from Ireland, who dominated last year's contest, five from France and one from Germany. Hardy Eustace has won the Smurfit Champion Hurdle for the past two seasons and will bid to join the select list of three-time winners that comprises Istabraq , See You Then , Persian War , Sir Ken and Hatton's Grace The Dessie Hughes-trained nine-year-old has only had one race this season, when winning a three-runner race at Punchestown on New Year's Eve, and will be out to confirm his status as the best two-mile hurdler in training.
The dual-champion could be re-opposed by the two horses that chased him home last year, headed by the enigmatic Harchibald. He is currently sidelined with an injury and Meade has made no secret of the fact that it is a race against time to get him to Cheltenham on March The Colm Murphy-trained Brave Inca, who finished third behind his two Irish compatriots last year, has also been in good form this season, beating Harchibald by three lengths last time in the Grade One bewleyshotels.
Brave Inca could be joined in this contest by stablemate Feathard Lady, unbeaten in seven starts and a decisive winner of the Christmas Hurdle at Sandown on Boxing Day. She was thought to be in danger of missing the Smurfit Champion Hurdle although Murphy has recently issued a more upbeat prognosis.
The home challenge is spearheaded by the Howard Johnson-trained Arcalis, last year's Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices' Hurdle victor, who looked better than ever when running away with the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in November on his only start this season. The Venetia Williams-trained Chief Yeoman has shown decent form in handicap company this season but would have to make improvement to figure, as would Dusky Warbler, trained by Gary Moore, who acquitted himself well in some decent novice contests last season, including when third to Arcalis in the Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Sh Boom, now in the care of Steve Brookshaw, has competed in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle for the past two seasons, while Perle De Puce, trained by Nicky Henderson, has failed to reproduce his decent hurdle form in three runs over fences this season. An interesting entry is United, trained by Lucy Wadham, who is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles but who has not raced since winning a Grade One hurdle race at Punchestown back in April. She is likely to return in the totesport Gold Trophy at Newbury in February.
The Seamus Mullins-trained Kawagino and Roger Brookhouse's Leo's Luckyman complete the home defence but both look outclassed in this championship contest. He has also won twice over hurdles and twice over fences. The German handler reported: "Fiepes Shuffle had a problem with a leg and had a wind operation, but he has come back since and won emphatically on the Flat. I would like to send him to Sandown for the Agfa Hurdle on Saturday, February 4, and if he runs into the frame there he will go for the Smurfit Champion Hurdle.
The race was abandoned in due to persistent frost, in and because of the Second World War and in because of foot and mouth disease. There have only been two sponsors of this great race since its inception. The Smurfit Group stepped in at that point and has remained a loyal sponsor ever since.
The largest field has been 24 and and the smallest three The first five runnings of the race saw a total of only 24 runners between them. The Champion Hurdle is a contest for multiple winners. Peter Easterby won the race most often as a trainer, with five victories from three horses, Saucy Kit , Night Nurse and and Sea Pigeon and Vic Smyth and Fred Winter both had four wins, and a further five trainers have captured the hurdling crown on three occasions.
The most successful owner is still Dorothy Paget, who won the race four times thanks to Insurance , , Solford and Distel Istabraq, successful in the three Champion Hurdles from to , was retired after failing to become the first horse to win the race four times in Horse racing betting offers Read Betfair Review.
Distance : 3m y. Going : Good. Winning Owner: Dunderry Racing Syndicate. Walsh T: A. Martin, Ireland.
Silver Streak, who defeated Epatante in stunning fashion in the Christmas Hurdle, will make his third appearance in the feature race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival. Gordon Elliott has Abacadabras and Aramax in the mix. Goshen and Botox Has could both represent Gary Moore. Champion Hurdle Day Card. Champion Hurdle History. The highlight on day one of the Cheltenham Festival is the Champion Hurdle.
This Championship race was first run at Cheltenham in , and the Champion Hurdle has been won by many of the sport's greatest names. Brown Jack won the second running of the Champion Hurdle in Insurance was the first two-time winner of the Champion Hurdle, securing back to back wins in and ' National Spirit repeated that feat in the late s, before the great Hatton's Grace reeled off a hat-trick of Champion Hurdle triumphs between and The following year, Sir Ken began his own sequence of three Champion Hurdle wins.
Other three-time winners include Persian War, See You Then and Instabraq, who secured his hat-trick of victories right at the end of the 20th century. Four jockeys have won the Champion Hurdle on four separate occasions. Three of Barry Geraghty's four victories came on Nicky Henderson horses. Henderson is the most successful trainer in the history of the Champion Hurdle, having saddled the winner eight times Whenever you read any Cheltenham Festival tips, Nicky Henderson's name will appear regularly.
Hardy Eustace stole the hearts of the nation with back-to-back Champion Hurdle wins in the mids. Hurricane Fly was the next superstar to come out of the Champion Hurdle, handing Willie Mullins his first and second victories in and ' Buveur D'Air then secured back-to-back wins for Geraghty and Henderson in and ' With his former winner on the sidelines, Henderson turned to top mare Epatante in , and she powered home under Geraghty to secure an impressive victory over four of Ireland's best.
Champion Hurdle Winners. What is the Champion Hurdle? Who won the Champion Hurdle? Who's the favourite for the Champion Hurdle? Time period for qualifying bets to be placed will run from on Friday to on following Thursday. Free bet will be credited by every Friday. All 18 ran. Winning Owner: Novices Syndicate Time: 3m Horse racing betting offers Read Betfair Review.
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