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Champion Hurdle tips 2020
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View Keith's tips for the Champion Hurdle

When is the Champion Hurdle 2020?
Cheltenham Tuesday 10th March 3.30pm

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (4yo+)

Distance: 2 miles ½ furlong Weights: 11st 2lb (4yo), 11st 10lb (5yo+), 7lb allowance for fillies and mares

The fourth race on day one is the highlight of the day, the feature race – the Champion Hurdle.

It is run on the Cheltenham old course, over a distance of about two miles and half a furlong, and there are eight hurdles to be jumped.

These are the fastest hurdlers in national hunt racing and the ability to be able to travel well at speed and jump without losing momentum is absolutely crucial.

Champion Hurdle Trends and Statistics
Here are the Cheltenham Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy 12 Year Trends and Statistics.

  • Age – Ten of the last twelve winners were aged between 5 and 7.
  • Trainer – Willie Mullins (4) and Nicky Henderson (4) have trained eight of the last 12 winners between them.
  • Starting Price – Just five of the last twelve winners were favourites and six of the last twelve winners returned an SP of 9/1 or higher.
  • Last Run – Nine of the last twelve winners won on their last run before Cheltenham, eleven of them finished in the first three on their last run. and nine ran within the last 51 days.
  • Course Form – Ten of the last twelve winners had at least 1 previous run at Cheltenham, six of them had at least 1 previous win at Cheltenham
  • Distance Form – Eleven of the last twelve winners had at least seven runs over 1m 7f – 2m 1f and at least five wins over 1m 7f and 2m 1f.
  • Hurdle Form – Ten of the last twelve winners had at least eight previous runs over hurdles and at least five wins over hurdles.
  • Official Rating – Ten of the last twelve winners were rated 162 or higher.
  • Grade 1 Wins – Ten of the last twelve winners had at least one previous Grade 1 win.
  • Season Form – Ten of the last twelve winners had at least two runs in the current season. All twelve had at least one win in the current season.
Who are the Champion Hurdle Leading Contenders?
Currently the leading contenders for the Champion Hurdle 2020 are:

  • EPATANTE – Landed the Christmas hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day with a degree of authority quickening away from the field after the last. Lack of experience at Cheltenham is a worry. Also this is a bad race for the fairer sex only one mare having won in the last 12 years.
  • PENTLAND HILLS – 20/1 when winning the Triumph Hurdle here last year and followed that up with another Grade 1 win at Aintree. Ran a bit free on return here in December when down the field but was only just beaten a nose at Haydock last time.
  • HONEYSUCKLE – Currently favourite for the Mares Hurdle but is seven from seven over hurdles including the Irish Champion Hurdle in February.
  • ENVOI ALLEN – Unbeaten in seven rules races, 4 bumpers and  3 hurdles plus a point to point for good measure. Holds entries in the Supreme and Ballymore Hurdles. Took the Champion Bumper in style last March.

 

What are Keith’s Champion Hurdle Tips for 2020?
On paper this is the most open Champion Hurdle for many a year and it is easy to make a case for and dismiss most of the principal contenders which leaves us nowhere really.

Let's start eliminating, a line goes through EPATANTE because of the poor record of mares in this race and she has never run at Cheltenham.

PENTLAND HILLS hasn't won this term although he went very close last time out.

HONEYSUCKLE entered the picture for the Champion Hurdle after two of the main contenders Klassical Dream and Sadier were ruled out of the race at the beginning of February but she is being eliminated for the same reasons as EPATANTE above and it makes more sense for connections to send her to her original target the Mares Hurdle where she is a live contender.

Which leaves us with the leading novice ENVOI ALLEN who ticks almost every box and as Gordon Elliot doesn't really have any other live contenders in a race he would dearly love on his CV he is likely to bypass the Ballymore and come straight for the big one.

My selection for the Champion Hurdle 2020 is: ENVOI ALLEN 14/1, if does however go for the Ballymore Hurdle then my alternative is PENTLAND HILLS.

As this article is written in advance of the 2020 Festival, the likely contenders are expected to change as we get closer to Champion Day. The picture also starts to get much clearer as we approach the festival, with trainers starting to show their cards in the weeks leading up to Day 1. 

To get Keith’s very latest, up-to-date thoughts on the Day 1 card, and his final Day 1 tips, simply register as a FREE FRT member here, and Keith will email you the full Day 1 tips (including for this race) on the morning of Champion Day.

What was Keith’s Champion Hurdle Tip for 2019?
FRT Tipster Keith’s wrote this for the 2019 Unibet Champion Hurdle.

Current favourite for the race is the Nicky Henderson trained BUVEUR D’AIR who has won the last two renewals of the race and is 11 from 13 over hurdles, despite having his colours lowered on Boxing Day when short headed by VERDANA BLUE he is still a worthy favourite always seems to have a little bit more in the tank, his subsequent win at Sandown was business as usual but despite poor opposition.

Best of the Mullins contingent is LAURINA who is 5 from 5 since joining the yard from France including the Trull House Novice Mares Hurdle at last years festival, the 7lb mares allowance gives her a huge pull at the weights with the favourite and she should be thereabouts but only 1 mare has won this race in the last 12 years and she may have to play second fiddle.

Gordon Elliott’s APPLES JADE firmly entered the picture at Leopardstown when she was dropped back to 2 miles to win the Irish equivalent in some style but while I expect her to make it a honest race she is passed over for the same reason as LAURINA.

My selection for the race is BUVEUR D’AIR 2/1.

Result: BUVEUR D’AIR fell at the third flight but was thankfully uninjured and accompanied the eventual winner all the way to the finishing line.

Look out for Keith's day one tips in your inbox on March the 10th*

Keith’s Inner Circle members will get priority access to the tips the night before racing – usually by 9pm.

VIP club members also get informed of Keith’s tips the night before – usually by 10pm.

Standard FRT members will receive Keith’s tips on the morning of the races – usually by 10.30am.

Champion Hurdle Previous Winners
  • 2008 Katchit 10/1 5 Robert Thornton Alan King
  • 2009 Punjabi 22/1 6 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
  • 2010 Binocular 9/1 6 Tony McCoy Nicky Henderson
  • 2011 Hurricane Fly 11/4F 7 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins (IRE)
  • 2012 Rock On Ruby 11/1 7 Noel Fehily Paul Nicholls
  • 2013 Hurricane Fly 13/8F 9 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins (IRE)
  • 2014 Jezki 9/1 6 Barry Geraghty Jessica Harrington (IRE)
  • 2015 Faugheen 4/5F 7 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins (IRE)
  • 2016 Annie Power  5/2F 8 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins (IRE)
  • 2017 Buveur d’Air 5/1 6 Noel Fehily Nicky Henderson
  • 2018 Buveur d’Air 4/6F 7 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
  • 2019 Espoir d’Allen 16/1 5 Mark Walsh Gavin Cromwell (IRE)

As these articles are written in advance of the 2020 Festival, the likely contenders are expected to change as we get closer to Champion Day. The picture also starts to get much clearer as we approach the festival, with trainers starting to show their cards in the weeks leading up to Day 1. 

To get Keith’s very latest, up-to-date thoughts on the Day 1 card, and his final Day 1 tips, simply register as a FREE FRT member here, and Keith will email you the full Day 1 tips on the morning of Champion Day.

Who is FRT’s Cheltenham Day 1 Tipster?
Keith Bond is our resident pro tipster here at FRT Towers. Keith lives and breathes horse racing, having begun his love of horse racing over 40 years ago with a part time job at Catterick Racecourse, as one of three fourteen year-olds looking after two jumps and a hurdle.

Over the years, Keith has been a regular at the northern tracks attending countless race meetings and building up a network of contacts, and a portfolio of systems and strategies. 

He was one of the co-founders of Free Racing Tips all the way back in 2008, and his free tips are now backed by more than seventy thousand FRT members every single day.

“Thanks Keith – It’s great to be part of an amazing group of people all after the same thing, passing on tips to beat the bookies” 

Colin Parkinson, Harrow.

The FRT community love Keith’s attention to detail, knowledge of past races, and ability to pick horses…

“You offer some great tips, some fantastic outsiders tipped up as well. Most tipsters just put up favourites. Well done and keep up the good work”

John Woolley, Stockport

Look out for Keith's day one tips in your inbox on March the 10th*

Keith’s Inner Circle members will get priority access to the tips the night before racing – usually by 9pm.

VIP club members also get informed of Keith’s tips the night before – usually by 10pm.

Standard FRT members will receive Keith’s tips on the morning of the races – usually by 10.30am.

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"Thanks Keith – It’s great to be part of an amazing group of people all after the same thing, passing on tips to beat the bookies”
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