Champion Hurdle tips 2021

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Champion Hurdle TipsWhen is the Champion Hurdle 2021?

Cheltenham Tuesday 16th 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.

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Champion Hurdle Records

Fastest Win: Annie Power 2016 ridden by Ruby Walsh trained by Willie Mullins finished in 225.1s – 3 minutes 45.1 seconds

Leading jockey since 1946 (4 wins):

Tim Molony – Hatton's Grace (1951), Sir Ken (1952, 1953, 1954)
Ruby Walsh – Hurricane Fly (2011, 2013), Faugheen (2015), Annie Power (2016)
Barry Geraghty – Punjabi (2009), Jezki (2014), Buveur D'Air (2018), Epatante (2020)

Leading trainer since 1946 (8 wins):

Nicky Henderson – See You Then (1985, 1986, 1987), Punjabi (2009), Binocular (2010), Buveur D'Air (2017, 2018), Epatante (2020)

Leading owner since 1946 (9 wins):

J. P. McManus – Istabraq (1998, 1999, 2000), Binocular (2010), Jezki (2014), Buveur D'Air (2017, 2018), Espoir d'Allen (2019), Epatante (2020)

Source: Wikipedia

Champion Hurdle Trends and Statistics

12 Year Trends and Statistics 

  • Age – 9 of the last 12 winners were aged between 6 and 7.
  • Sex – 10 of the last 12 winners were geldings. 2 mares have won in the last 12 years from just 6 runners.
  • Trainer – Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins have dominated this race in the last 12 years with 5 and 4 wins respectively .
  • Horse – 2 horses have won the race twice in the last 12 years. 
  • Country – 6 of the last 12 winners were bred in Ireland, 5 in France and 1 in Great Britain.
  • Colour – 11 of the last 12 winners were bay..
  • Weight Carried – Geldings carry 11st 10lb and mares 11st 3lb.
  • Starting Price (SP) – 7 of the last 12 winners returned a SP of 5/1 or less. The other 5 were between 9/1  and 22/1
  • Starting Price Rank – 6 of the last 12 winners started as favourite and 9 were in the first 4 in the betting.
  • Headgear – 11 of the last 12 winners wore no headgear
  • Days Since Last Run – All of the last 12 winners had run between 24 and 78 days ago. 
  • Last Run Form –9 of the last 12 winners had won last time out, all of them finished in the first 4 last time.
  • Official Rating – 10 of the last 12 winners had an official rating between 159 and 169.
Who are the Champion Hurdle Leading Contenders?

EPATANTE – Won this last year and enjoyed an easy win in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle in November before being beaten at very skinny odds in the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.

SHARJAR – Runner up to EPATANTE in last year's renewal and proved he was still at the top of his game when winning at Leopardstown in December.

SILVER STREAK – Lowered the colours of EPATANTE in the Christmas Hurdle but well beaten in this race last year.

ASPIRE TOWER – Second the Triumph Hurdle at last year’s festival and has returned this season in great form winning at Down Royal and finishing second to SHARJAR at Leopardstown

What are Keith’s Champion Hurdle Tips for 2021?

This race is extremely wide open with question marks about most of the principals.

Last year’s winner EPATANTE has plenty of positives despite losing last time, she ticks the box on age and is trained by Nicky Henderson who has an exemplary record in the race but that defeat laast time shows a chink in the armour. SHARJAR trained by Willie Mullins is another in the right hands but at 8 is getting a bit old for this race and his record at Cheltenham leaves a lot to be desired. SILVER STREAK is another 8 year old who has already had a couple attempts at winning this and has fallen short on both occasions. ASPIRE TOWER is a shade on the young side at 5 but his form stacks up well and he represents a bit of value in a tricky renewal and is my ante-post selection for the race.

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What was Keith’s Champion Hurdle Tip 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 Keith’s (provisional!) tip is ENVOI ALLEN

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 Elliott 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.

ENVOI ALLEN is my selection, if he does however go for the Ballymore Hurdle instead, then my alternative is PENTLAND HILLS.

Result: In the Champion Hurdle PENTLAND HILLS quite simply was never traveling and finished well down the field.

Champion Hurdle Results

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)
Distance: 2m½f (3607 yards) Prize (winner): £264610 Direction: Left Handed
Runners: 17    Going: Soft    Class: Class 1 Grade 1    Age Restrictions: 4yo+
Winners Time: 4 mins 7.03s   Avg OR: 156     Median OR: 157  

NoPlaceDist BtHorseAgeORTrainerJockey (Claim)OddsBFBFP
171stEpatante (FR)6159Henderson, N JGeraghty, B J2/1 (Fav)3.362.03
held up in touch and travelled well, not fluent 3 out, eased out right before leading last, edged right flat, stayed on well BF IP MIN 1.01 BF IP MAX 4
142nd3Sharjah (FR)7163Mullins, W PMullins, Mr P W16/126.007.20
held up in rear, headway going well after 2 out, switched right before last, went 2nd flat, edged left, stayed on, no impression towards finish BF IP MIN 1.66 BF IP MAX 1000
73rd3.75Darver Star (IRE)8158Cromwell, Gavin PatrickMoore, J M17/210.063.42
tracked leaders, went 2nd after 5th, led between last 2, headed last, lost 2nd flat, stayed on same pace BF IP MIN 3.3 BF IP MAX 1000
34th2.75Cilaos Emery (FR)8159Mullins, W PTownend, P7/19.703.35
held up towards rear, raced keenly, mistake 5th, headway 3 out, edged left final 75 yards, stayed on same pace, unable to challenge BF IP MIN 3.65 BF IP MAX 1000
135th2Petit Mouchoir (FR)9158Bromhead, Henry DeBlackmore, Rachael25/155.0010.67
led after 1st, clear after 5th until before 3 out where not fluent, headed between last 2, soon hanging right, no extra towards finish BF IP MIN 6.8 BF IP MAX 1000
156th0.5Silver Streak (IRE)7158Williams, EvanWedge, Adam20/130.766.00
mid-division, mistake 3rd, outpaced after 2 out, stayed under pressure flat, never on terms BF IP MIN 29 BF IP MAX 1000
167th2.5Supasundae10160Harrington, Mrs JohnPower, R M9/112.003.50
mid-division, niggled along briefly before 3rd, headway after 5th, driven from 2 out, weakened flat BF IP MIN 11 BF IP MAX 1000
18th1.5Ballyandy9155Twiston-Davies, N ATwiston-Davies, Sam20/135.335.91
led until after 1st, chased leaders on inside after, driven after 2 out, weakened last BF IP MIN 12 BF IP MAX 1000
129th3Pentland Hills (IRE)5157Henderson, N JBoinville, Nico9/112.544.17
held up in rear, not fluent 4th, shaken up after 2 out, went 9th before last, no chance BF IP MIN 11.5 BF IP MAX 1000
610th1Darasso (FR)7156OBrien, Joseph PatrickWalsh, M P40/167.3714.03
held up towards rear, pushed along after 5th, never in contention BF IP MIN 60 BF IP MAX 1000
811th6Fusil Raffles (FR)5150Henderson, N JJacob, Daryl20/124.088.88
held up towards rear on outside, not fluent 3 out, soon weakened BF IP MIN 17 BF IP MAX 1000
912th2.75Gumball (FR)6152Hobbs, P JColeman, A100/1225.2427.71
mid-division on outside, closed after 2nd, mistake 5th, weakened 2 out BF IP MIN 55 BF IP MAX 1000
213th1.25Call Me Lord (FR)7157Henderson, N JBowen, James C10/114.694.40
held up on inside, not fluent 4th, pushed along and well beaten after 3 out BF IP MIN 9.8 BF IP MAX 1000
1014th1.25Le Patriote (FR)8150Newland, Dr R D PHammond, Charlie100/1770.4981.89
slowly away, held up in rear, some headway on approaching 4th, closed to chase leaders 2 out, soon driven and weakened BF IP MIN 21 BF IP MAX 1000
415th24Coeur Sublime (IRE)5155Elliott, GordonRussell, D N12/115.504.66
in touch in mid-division, mistake 5th, well beaten from 3 out BF IP MIN 11 BF IP MAX 1000
5PUCornerstone Lad6159Hammond, MickyBrooke, Henry33/160.0010.00
tracked leader until after 5th, soon weakened, pulled up before 3 out BF IP MIN 36 BF IP MAX 1000
11PUNot So Sleepy8143Morrison, HBurke, Jonathan33/163.1014.39
slowly away, took keen hold and soon recovered to chase leaders, mistake 3rd, lost place after 5th, soon behind, pulled up before last BF IP MIN 60 BF IP MAX 1000

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)
Distance: 2m½f (3607 yards) Prize (winner): £253215 Direction: Left Handed
Runners: 10    Going: Soft    Class: Class 1 Grade 1    Age Restrictions: 4yo+
Winners Time: 3 mins 59.07s   Avg OR: 162     Median OR: 160.5

NoPlaceDist BtHorseAgeORTrainerJockey (Claim)OddsBFBFP
31stEspoir Dallen (FR)5162Cromwell, Gavin PatrickWalsh, M P16/126.004.00
held up in mid-division, closed 4 out, 3rd before 3 out, led 2 out, allowed to drift right when drawing clear before last, stayed on strongly, impressive BF IP MIN 1.01 BF IP MAX 48
52nd15Melon7165Mullins, W PTownend, P20/128.124.66
led until 2 out, no impression on winner before not fluent last, edged right flat, being closed on by 3rd close home BF IP MIN 5 BF IP MAX 1000
73rdNKSilver Streak (IRE)6156Williams, EvanWedge, Adam80/1187.7217.00
held up in rear, jumped right at times, closed after mistake 4 out, went 3rd last, no chance with winner, kept on under pressure and closing on 2nd close home BF IP MIN 10 BF IP MAX 1000
94th1.5Laurina (FR)6159Mullins, W PWalsh, R5/23.901.62
tracked leaders, went 2nd 4 out, hit next, ridden after 2 out, dropped to 4th last, stayed on same pace BF IP MIN 1.32 BF IP MAX 1000
105th7Verdana Blue (IRE)7157Henderson, N JRussell, D N33/147.508.20
held up towards rear, went 5th 3 out, shaken up after 2 out, never on terms and well held before last BF IP MIN 12.5 BF IP MAX 1000
86th6Apples Jade (FR)7166Elliott, GordonKennedy, J W7/4 (Fav)2.861.37
with leader, hit 2nd, lost 2nd 4 out, well beaten before 3 out BF IP MIN 2.82 BF IP MAX 1000
47th45Global Citizen (IRE)7159Pauling, BenBass, David50/198.9113.59
mid-division on inside, ridden and weakened before 3 out, tailed off BF IP MIN 40 BF IP MAX 1000
6BDSharjah (FR)6165Mullins, W PMullins, Mr P W20/131.124.83
held up in mid-division, brought down 3rd BF IP MIN 21 BF IP MAX 1000
2FBuveur Dair (FR)8172Henderson, N JGeraghty, B J11/44.101.52
held up in touch in 4th, fell 3rd BF IP MIN 3.65 BF IP MAX 1000
1PUBrain Power (IRE)8158Henderson, N JBoinville, Nico33/168.848.20
held up in rear, not fluent 4th, slightly hampered 4 out, soon ridden and beaten, weakened before next, pulled up before 2 out BF IP MIN 20 BF IP MAX 1000

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Champion Hurdle Previous Winners
DateGoingRunnersWinnerStallionAgeJockey (Clm)TrainerOdds
Good To Soft1165/1
Good To Soft1285/2
Good To Soft874/5
Good To Soft969/1
Good To Soft1269/1
Good To Soft23622/1
Good To Soft15510/1
Good To Soft1887/4
Good To Soft15710/1
Good To Soft1474/9


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

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Cheltenham Festival Tuesday

Race Schedule

13:30The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race2m abt ½fHurdle
14:10The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chaseabt 2mChase
14:50The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase3m abt 1fChase
15:30The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
(feature race)
2m abt ½fHurdle
16:10The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle Race2m abt 4fHurdle
16:50The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race (Grade 3)2m abt 4½fChase
17:30The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Steeple Chase) (Grade 2)3m abt 6fChase


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