The Grade One Champion Hurdle is the main contest on day one (Tuesday) of the Cheltenham Festival and is run over 2m on the old course. This is where ThatsBettingTips give you the Champion Hurdle trends to help you find the winner based on past statistics – for all of our tips visit our Cheltenham Festival tips page!
This race is recognised as the most prestigious hurdling race of the jumps season and is currently sponsored by leading bookmaker Stan James.
The 2016 renewal looks set-up to be another 'must-see' race with the Willie Mullins team looking to hold all the aces again. However, the current champion Faugheen 'the machine' and the 2015 runner-up, Arctic Fire, will unfortunantley both now MISS THE RACE due to a training setbacks, but the Willie Mullins camp still have Nichols Canyon, plus there is a good chance their star mare Annie Power will also be entered for the race.
We take a look back at recent winners and give you the key Champion Hurdle trends, plus free Champion Hurdle tips to look out for ahead of the 2016 renewal – this year run on Tuesday 15th March.
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Day one of the Cheltenham Festival always kicks-off with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and when the tape goes up the roar from the Prestbury Park faithful can often be heard right back in the Cheltenham Town Centre. However, we all know the Champion Hurdle is the feature on day one but the sparkle has somewhat been taken out of the race with the absence of last year's champion Faugheen and the 2015 second Arctic Fire. The Willie Mullins-trained 8 year-old – Faugheen – faced a training setback in the build-up to the race and despite it not being serious, it was bad-timing and connections can't risk running him.
So the owners of the others horses in the race won't mind though as we've now got an open-looking race, but it just shows you the depth of the Mullins camp as despite Faugheen and last year's runner-up Arctic Fire being on the sidelines they've still got a strong-hand with Nichols Canyon in the race, while there is also a good chance their superstar mare , Annie Power, will be supplemented for the race.
Annie Power will be remembered for that fall in the 2015 Mares' hurdle race when looking to have the race in the bag – a tumble that saw thousands of punters lose their three and four-timer bets on the earlier Mullins winners on day one in 2015. Should she run she'll be the first mare since Flakey Dove in 1994 to land the Champion Hurdle – albeit not many have tried. In a race that's cut-up badly in the run-up then, should she run, she'll be a warm order – especially after returning to the track by winning in February, while Ruby Walsh would surely pick her to.
Willie Mullins also has Nichols Canyon in the race and is generally second or third in the betting at this stage. This former useful flat horse has beaten Faugheen this season and has also seen off another of the main runners, Identity Thief, when beating that horse at Leopardstown over Xmas. He was also third in the Neptune in 2015 so has already tasted the Festival and looks a big player. The Henry De Bromhead-trained Identity Thief is a consistent sort, but one big worry would be that this is his first run at Cheltenham – so will he handle the track?
The UK-based challenge is, once again, pretty thin on the ground with The New One the shortest in the betting market, but the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained horse just seems to have fallen short of the very top grade despite a string of good wins to his name, but his two previous tries in the race have seen him finish third and fifth. My Tent Or Yours could be the surprise package for the Nicky Henderson yard, who are no strangers at landing this race with a big-priced horse – Punjabi caused an upset in 2009 at 22/1. This 9 year-old has had bundles of issues but it’s been reported that he’s been working well in the build-up to this. Yes, he’s not a fair bit to prove and it remains to be seen if he’ll return the track anywhere near the same level, but, don’t forget, he was only beaten ¼ of a length in the 2014 renewal of this race so if anywhere near that form would have a cracking each-way chance around 6/1.
With Faugheen out it's an open renewal, with last year's Mares' Hurdle faller, Annie Power, looking the one to beat now (should she run), but we'll also be having a saver on My Tent Or Yours – the 2014 runner-up.
Champion Hurdle Trends
12/13 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
12/13 – Had raced at Cheltenham before
11/13 – Had raced within the last 7 weeks
11/12 – Had finished in the top 4 in a Cheltenham Festival race the season before
11/13 – Aged 8 or younger
11/13 – Rated 159 or higher
10/13 – Had won 6 or more times over hurdles before
9/13 – Irish bred winners
9/13 – Won last time out
9/13 – Placed favourites
8/13 – Had won at Cheltenham before
8/13 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
8/13 – Irish trained winners
7/13 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
6/13 – Winning distance – 2 1/2 lengths or more
5/13 – Ran in the previous season’s Champion Hurdle
5/13 – Had won a race at the Cheltenham Festival the previous season
5/13 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
3/13 – Trained by Willie Mullins
2/13 – Trained by Nicky Henderson (has won the race 5 times in all)
The average winning SP in the last 13 runnings is 9.6/1
Champion Hurdle Stats:
5 year-olds are just 2 from 95 since 1985
26 of the last 32 winners won their previous race
21 of the last 30 winners were placed in the top 4 at the previous season’s Cheltenham Festival
18 of the last 20 winners had a race that calendar year (i.e had run in 2015)
22 of the last 25 winners hailed from the first 6 in the betting market
Just 2 of the last 25 Christmas Hurdle winners has gone onto win the Champion Hurdle that season (But Faugheen did the double in 2014-15)
Irish-trained horses have won 11 of the last 17 renewals
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