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Champion Hurdle

15:30 Cheltenham Festival

2022-03-15

Winner: £253215

Runners: 10

Going: Good To Soft

No. of hurdles: 8

Distance: 2m0f87y

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The Unibet Champion Hurdle, the feature race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival, is the championship contest for 2m hurdlers and has been won by some of the greatest hurdlers of all time, including Night Nurse, Persian War, Sea Pigeon, Istabraq.

NO.DRAW
FORM
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HORSE
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ODDS
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JOCKEY& TRAINER
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AGE
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WGT
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OR
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RPR
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4(0)
157-15
silk
Not So Sleepy

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J: Jonathan Burke
T: Hughie Morrison
10
11-10
159
164
Oldest horse in this field but retains bags of ability and dead-heated with Epatante in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle two starts ago; failed to back up that form in the Christmas Hurdle, coming home 12l behind the Henderson mare, and at the age of ten he looks very unlikely to make it third time lucky in this race (pulled up in 2020, 13l fifth in 2021).
9(0)
23-311
silk
Epatante

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J: Aidan Coleman
T: Nicky Henderson
8
11-3
153
169
Justified favouritism with a 3l success in this contest two years ago, producing her peak RPR; finished third to Honeysuckle last year (jumping lacked fluency) and it was the same story at Punchestown next time; has subsequently gained second wins in the Fighting Fifth (dead-heated with Not So Sleepy) and Christmas Hurdle (comfortably); needs a bigger performance to regain her crown but, as in 2021, shouldn't be far away.
2(0)
/1111-
silk
Appreciate It

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J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
8
11-10
160
169
Absent since running away with the Supreme on this card 12 months ago, completing a Grade 1 novice hat-trick in the process and impressively going one better than when second in the 2020 Champion Bumper; was due to go down the Arkle route this term but had a setback in December and sticks to hurdles for this belated reappearance; raced mainly on soft/heavy (has won on yielding); it was not a vintage Supreme last year but he destroyed his rivals and could have tons more to offer at the top level; exciting contender.
10(0)
11-111
silk
Honeysuckle

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J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
8
11-3
165
177
Unbeaten superstar who is one of the all-time great mares, with career record now 15-15 (includes 14 wins over hurdles, ten at Grade 1 level); comfortably beat Zanahiyr at Leopardstown most recently, recording a third success in the Irish Champion Hurdle; 2-2 at the Cheltenham Festival, landing the Mares' Hurdle in 2020 then impressively posting a career-best RPR in this contest in 2021; this hurdling queen faces some interesting new challengers but wears her crown proudly and remains hard to oppose.
5(0)
244-34
silk
Saint Roi

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J: Mark Walsh
T: W P Mullins
7
11-10
155
163
Readily justified favouritism in the County Hurdle here two years ago then followed up in Tipperary Grade 3; limitations have been seemingly exposed in five Grade 1 races since, latest the Irish Champion behind Honeysuckle and Zanahiyr; now wears a first-time tongue-tie; stiff task.
3(0)
116421
silk
Glory And Fortune

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J: Stan Sheppard
T: Tom Lacey
7
11-10
148
157
Better than ever this season and showed useful form the last twice, finishing second to Epatante in Kempton Grade 1 then narrowly going one better in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury (good to soft); however, this is the toughest assignment of his career.
7(0)
231111
silk
Tommy's Oscar

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J: Danny McMenamin
T: Ann Hamilton
7
11-10
156
163
Appears to be David taking on Goliath, as he represents the Northumberland-based Hamiltons who have a very small string but place their horses superbly well; very progressive and completed a four-timer with his Grade 2 win at Haydock most recently, taking hurdles record to 8-13; should acquit himself well, but a heartwarming and fairytale success may prove hard for him to reach in these much deeper waters.
8(0)
-21222
silk
Zanahiyr

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J: Jack Kennedy
T: Gordon Elliott
5
11-10
160
163
Favourite when only fourth in last year's Triumph but could have done with a stronger pace to aim at; subsequent form comprises a Grade 2 win at Down Royal and four silver medals in Grade 1s, latest behind Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion where a bad early error wasn't ideal; cheekpieces are now added to usual tongue-tie; proving consistent and should give another good account of himself.
1(0)
122-22
silk
Adagio

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J: Tom Scudamore
T: David Pipe
5
11-10
152
161
Smart and rock-solid youngster whose form figures over hurdles read 12112222, including a Grade 1 win last term (runner-up in the Triumph next time); good efforts in the Greatwood over C&D (off top weight) and the Kingwell at Wincanton, three months apart, this season; had a minor setback in between those two runs; acts on any ground; now goes in first-time tongue-tie; has largely progressive RPRs and should go well again.
6(0)
12-111
silk
Teahupoo

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J: Robbie Power
T: Gordon Elliott
5
11-10
162
169
Improving 5yo who dashed clear for an 11l success in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park (2m, heavy; fourth Graded win) last month, taking his record to 6-7 and entering the Champion Hurdle picture in a big way; won on yielding in the autumn; has a very attractive profile and almost certainly hasn't reached his ceiling yet; highly interesting on first Grade 1 start.

RACING POST TIP

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silk
Honeysuckle
She's up against some exciting new challengers who may have the potential to steal her crown, but HONEYSUCKLE just keeps on winning and is taken to become the first mare to win the Champion Hurdle twice. She has already won three Irish Champion Hurdles and, having shown her career-best form when impressive in this race last year, it will take a mighty performance to burst her bubble. Appreciate It is an enthralling rival on his first start since winning last year's Supreme and he is feared most, ahead of the improving Teahupoo who looked very good on his latest outing and helps to give Ireland a very strong hand. Smart youngster Adagio and 2020 winner Epatante look best of the British runners.

Verdict

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CHAMPION HURDLE PREVIOUS WINNERS

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CHAMPION HURDLE TRENDS AND STATS

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WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR - CHAMPION HURDLE 2021

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