Champion Hurdle tips 2022

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Champion Hurdle TipsWhen is the Champion Hurdle 2022?

Cheltenham Tuesday 15th 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. 3 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, both with 4 wins.
  • 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 16/1
  • 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 – 11 of the last 12 winners had run between 26 and 75 days ago. 
  • Last Run Form –10 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?

The remarkable mare Honeysuckle has form figures of 1/1111/1111/111-11 the last “1” being courtesy of a comeback win in the Hatton's Grace, where she looked better than ever. She is expected to retain the Irish Champion at the Dublin Racing Festival in February, after her easy ten length victory last year. It is not difficult to envisage Honeysuckle going off the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the race and taking her on seems futile.

However, the purpose of this preview is to find an ante-post angle, so here goes. It is a sign of her superiority that Hills already have a “without Honeysuckle” market, a market not usually available until the declarations. Honeysuckle is 8/11 across the boards and I would not suggest backing anything ante-post at odds-on as there is always plenty that can go wrong. I understand that 8/11 is excellent value if she goes off 2/7. Sharjah was runner-up to Honeysuckle in last year’s Champion Hurdle, the middle leg of three defeats by the super mare. It is easy to forget how consistent Sharjah, he’s won six Grade 1s, been runner-up in two Champion Hurdles and would have been champion at Cheltenham and Punchestown last season if it wasn’t for that pesky mare. Sharjah is showing no signs of waning as he’s claimed both the Morgiana and Matheson hurdles this season in the absence of his nemesis, so he has obvious claims of making the frame again. Both of those wins at the expense of Zanahiyr, who at least narrowed the gap when beaten only a neck at Leopardstown last time out.    

Zanahiyr was a top class juvenile last season, although possibly not as good as former stablemate Quilixios, who beat him by 4 ¾ lengths in the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival last year. Quilixios has been runner-up to Teahuppo on both starts this season but is east to see that form reversed on level terms at Cheltenham. Adagio was third in that Triumph Hurdle, runner-up to Quilixios and ahead of Zanahiyr, Haut En Coeleurs, and Tritonic. Adagio had claims as top British juvenile last year, but was beaten by Monmiral at Aintree, who had skipped Cheltenham. Adagio ran a cracking seasonal debut when runner-up in Greatwood Handicap Hurdle in November under top weight. While Monmiral had a shocker in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, neither have been seen out since their seasonal bows. So, all of these five-year-olds have claims, but their supporters will be hoping to buck a trend that has seen only two champions from 108 attempts.

The mare Epatante was defending her crown in last year’s renewal but was put in her place by Honeysuckle at Cheltenham as well as at Punchestown. She has returned in good form this season winning the Grade 1 two-mile Hurdles in Britain. It is good to see her back in form, but the form of those two wins is unlikely to cause even a ripple of concern from across the Irish Sea.

There is little doubt that if there is to be a fairy tale ending this year, it would have to be a win for Tommy’s Oscar, trained on a farm in Northumberland by Ann Hamilton, one of only four horses in the yard. The son of Oscar began the season getting beat in a conditionals’ handicap hurdle at Wetherby. That was followed by another defeat over 2½ miles at Carlisle off [139] but on the back of landing a hat-trick the admirable gelding has improved to a BHA rating of [156] which compares favourably with Epatante before allowing for her mares’ allowance is taken into account. I can’t help the feeling that if Tommy’s Oscar had progressed at a similar level with a bigger yard, he wouldn’t be 50/1. He could be best of the British and if he were to win you can insert your own headline cliché [rags to riches/Cinderalla story/David slays Goliath/Oscar winning performance]. Given the geography it would make sense for him to take in Kelso’s Morebattle Hurdle as a trial. 

Which leaves me with Appreciate It, who looked a monster when destroying his rivals over the course and distance in the Supreme Hurdle last year. The Willie Mullins team can at least claim that like Honeysuckle their star is unbeaten over hurdles. The Supreme did fall apart a bit on the day, slower than Honeysuckle and on fresher ground, but his win in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Festival could hardly have worked out better on form. Appreciate It was favourite for the Arkle, but he has had a delayed start to the season and Willie Mullins doesn’t want to go to Cheltenham with little experience of fences

Here's what Keith wrote ahead of the Champion Hurdle

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 Our Champion Hurdle Tips?

Members will see our Champion Hurdle Tips below.  If you can't see our antepost selection you will need to log in, or join for free. 

 

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.

On the day Keith told our members:

ABRACADABRAS 15:05 Cheltenham 8/1 each way – Not very far behind Shiskin in the Supreme and landed the Morgana in November. Beaten by both HONEYSUCKLE and SHARJAH since but he no back number on return to this course and won't be far away at the finish. Of the big 2 I feel that EPATANTE will have the measure of HONEYSUCKLE.  SILVER STREAK is likely to set a blistering pace and tire up the hill.

How did he do?

ABRACADABRAS – our first faller of the festival, Abracadabras was held up towards rear of mid-division, fell 3rd

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.

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Champion Hurdle Results

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (GBB Race)
Distance: 2m½f (3607 yards) Prize (winner): £189911 Dir: Left Handed
Runners: 10    Going: Soft    Class: Class 1 Grade 1    Age Restrictions: 4yo+
Winners Time: 3 mins 54.63s   Avg OR: 160     Median OR: 160.5

NoPlaceDist BtHorseAgeWeightORTrainerJockey (Claim)OddsBFBFP
101stHoneysuckle711-3161Bromhead, Henry DeBlackmore, Rachael11/10 (Fav)
raced out wide in mid-division, headway tracking leaders before 4th, travelling well in 3rd before 3 out, led between last 2, quickened clear soon after, impressive
72nd6.5Sharjah (FR)811-10164Mullins, W PTownend, P11/1
held up towards rear, slightly hampered by faller at 3rd, headway before 2 out, went 2nd before the last, no chance with impressive winner
93rd3Epatante (FR)711-3161Henderson, N JColeman, A4/1
held up towards rear, headway before 2 out, went modest 3rd last, no chance with impressive winner
24th1.5Aspire Tower (IRE)511-10160Bromhead, Henry DePower, R M33/1
chased leading pair, went 2nd at 5th, went left hit 2 out and led, headed between last 2, soon lost 2nd, 2nd again briefly before the last, soon no extra in 3rd, weakened into 4th at the last
55th2Not So Sleepy911-10149Morrison, HBurke, Jonathan125/1
chased leader early but soon settled tracking leaders on inside, outpaced and losing place when hung left before 2 out, never troubled leaders after
86th1.25Silver Streak (IRE)811-10163Williams, EvanOBrien, T J22/1
led, not much room on inside and headed 2 out, chased leaders, weakened before the last
67th0.75Saldier (FR)711-10156Mullins, W PMullins, D E80/1
held up in rear, badly hampered by faller at 3rd, hit 5th, never involved
38th11Goshen (FR)511-10164Moore, G LMoore, Jamie11/2
soon tracking leader, hung badly right from 3rd, lost 2nd at 5th, chased leaders, lost place before 3 out, behind before next, tailed off
49th6James Du Berlais (FR)511-10160Mullins, W PJacob, Daryl14/1
keen, held up in mid-division on inside, bit closer at 3rd, hit 3 out, weakened quickly
1FAbacadabras (FR)711-10158Foster, Mrs DeniseKennedy, J W10/1
held up towards rear of mid-division, fell 3rd

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)TrainerOddsWeightORDays
Soft10711/1011-316138d
Soft1762/111-315975d
Soft10516/111-1016244d
Heavy1174/611-1016938d
Good To Soft1165/111-1015738d
Good To Soft1285/211-316227d
Good To Soft874/511-1016974d
Good To Soft969/111-1016544d
Soft9913/811-1017244d
Good10711/111-1016578d
Good11711/411-1016751d
Good To Soft1269/111-1016338d
Good To Soft23622/111-1016324d
Good To Soft15510/111-1015924d
Soft10716/111-10045d
Good To Soft1887/411-10044d
Good1487/211-10031d
Good14733/111-10031d
Good1799/212-016738d
Good To Soft15710/112-015319d
Good1288/1512-0051d
Good To Soft1474/912-0051d
Good1863/112-0051d
Good1767/112-0031d

 

Who is FRT’s Cheltenham Day 1 Tipster?

Our Cheltenham Tipster Neil

This year, our Cheltenham ante-post tipster is Neil.

He’s one of the best at finding consistent value and runs his own tipping service – “Cheek Pieces”.

Since becoming a professional tipster last year, Neil has delivered a 24.6% strike rate, 15.86% ROI, and returned over 100 points profit for all his followers.

Check out Neil’s full results and join his service.

Neil tells us:

“I got hooked on racing after a visit to Goodwood to see Ardross in 1980.

“As a father of three in the 90s, I couldn’t afford to lose money betting and drifted in and out of the sport. 

“The next 20 years was a learning curve, including losing my ‘betting bank’ several times over and having to save enough to start again. I spent the downtime reading numerous books and articles on betting strategies. 

“But since about 2011, I’ve made a second income from betting while working full-time as an accountant, a career I hated but it paid the bills and taught me some financial disciplines. 

“Last year, I finally resigned and became a professional horse racing tipster.

“My modus operandi is quite simple…regular winners at above market prices. Interested in winning? Join my service here.”

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Cheltenham Festival Tuesday

Race Schedule

START TIMESRACEDISTANCETYPE
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

 

The Countdown to Cheltenham 2022

Day(s)

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Minute(s)

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