The standout race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival is undoubtedly the Champion Hurdle, with the Nicky Henderson trained Buveur D’Air having won the race for the last two years. This page will discuss everything that there is to know about the famous race, including Cheltenham champion hurdle betting, runners and riders and previous winners.
With many of the frontrunners for the race in 2019 having performed well in trial races, the Champion Hurdle once again promises to be one of the most exciting races of the Festival, as some big names look to end the dominance of Buveur D’Air.
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Preview By Ed Quigley
Growing up just outside Cheltenham, Ed spent over a decade with the Racing Post. He was best known for his Longshot column, RPTV, and as a weekly columnist in the Racing & Football Outlook. Now as a freelance Racing Broadcaster and Journalist, he is a regular on Ladbrokes TV and Sky Sports Racing amongst other things. He describes himself as a Cheltenham Festival fanatic!
2019 Champion Hurdle
On paper this is boiling up nicely to be one of the races of the year. Dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air (2/1) is looking to complete the hattrick, wondermare Apple’s Jade (9/4) is attempting to give trainer Gordon Elliott his first win in the race, and unbeaten star Laurina (4/1) is looking to extend her winning streak.
It doesn’t get much better than this, although having said that, from a betting point of view there are question marks about all three protagonists to varying degrees.
Buveur D’Air (2/1)
After winning the Fighting Fifth in great style in which he swatted aside Samcro, there was a shock result at Kempton back in December, when Buveur D’Air was beaten by stable companion Verdana Blue (14/1), in which his usual slick hurdling technique came unstuck and sent off 1/4f, he ultimately failed to demonstrate his superiority.
A confidence boosting victory at Sandown recently should insure he is spot on for the big occasion, but he definitely has a tough race on his hands in what looks a better race than 12 months ago. Nicky Henderson says his preparation has been much smoother this year compared to last year, and as he looks to join the hurdling greats such as Istabraaq by winning this contest three times, he will have no room to make any type of error such as those that he produced at the Sunbury venue in December. Granted the form of last year’s Champion Hurdle looks suspect, when he narrowly got the better of the now regressive Melon (20/1), he will need to up his game this year in a much stronger renewal.
Apple’s Jade (9/4)
Gigginstown have their very own win machine in the form of Apple’s Jade and she has looked better than ever this campaign, winning all four starts in stunning fashion, with the three most recent wins coming at Grade 1 level. The seven-year-old is clearly a class act and commands plenty of respect but questions remain about whether she can produce her best form at Cheltenham. She has been beaten twice in her three visits to Prestbury Park, once in the Triumph Hurdle, although excuses can be made for last year’s shock defeat in the Mares Hurdle as that can be attributed to the fact she was in season.
If she can produce her best form in this contest then she will take a lot of beating. She looks to be peaking, as has shown her effectiveness over 2m, but the jury is still out as to whether she is suited by Cheltenham’s undulations, and by the fact she often shifts right at her obstacles which doesn’t help on a left handed track.
Connections maintained for many months that she would be heading to the Mares Hurdle, but finally appeared to give in to the realisation that she has every chance of landing Champion Hurdle glory. However, for aforementioned reasons, I will be taking her on in this assignment.
Unbeaten in six starts over hurdles for Willie Mullins, Laurina steps up in class massively, and does bring the ‘could be anything’ factor to the contest. It is quite remarkable that, albeit at a relatively lower level, nothing has managed to get closer than six lengths to her so far and she hasn’t remotely looked like getting into any trouble.
Going into last year’s Cheltenham Festival, she was considered one of the bankers of the meeting, and she didn’t disappoint, as she came home in splendid isolation when trouncing her rivals in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle, without having to get out of second gear. Obviously, at this level, she will need to go through all the gears in order to win this. I expect Ruby Walsh to ride her fairly prominently, as it is evident she has plenty of stamina in the locker and try an expose any weaknesses in Apple’s Jade at this track, and possibly try and run the finishing kick out of Buveur D’Air.
She will need to improve her jumping though, and cut in the ground would be a preference. She is learning all the time over her hurdles, and as for ground fears, with the Cheltenham ground staff likely to apply of water to the surface for the opening day, she should be fine with underfoot conditions. I am keen on her chances.
Global Citizen (33/1)
If you are looking for something at a big price, recent Haydock scorer GLOBAL CITIZEN (33/1) could give punters a run for their money at 33/1. The trailblazer will not be hanging around and he could pinch a few lengths at the start from his rivals. He is somewhat of an unknown quantity heading into this race, but has been progressive this season.
A winner of two of his four starts this campaign, I have been impressed by his attitude and his ability to handle various underfoot conditions. He will enjoy what ever surface is presented on the opening day, and officially rated 159, he is probably slightly underestimated in the market for the Ben Pauling team. He has no experience of Cheltenham, but has looked resolute in a finish on more than one occasion this season which gives grounds for optimism that he can flourish at Prestbury Park. He shouldn’t be overlooked.
Others to note include Laurina’s stable mate Sharjah (12/1) who has been in top form in recent months and cannot be ruled out completely. He would however, like Verdana Blue, need conditions as quick as possible – something that he is not certain to get. He didn’t enjoy the testing ground when eighth in last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. However, with back to back wins in Grade 1 company heading into this, you would be foolish to overlook his claims if the rain stays away and he appears to be maturing. The six-year-old has improved 19lbs since last July.
Brain Power (20/1)
Nicky Henderson could have a strong hand in this, and Brain Power (20/1) has enjoyed himself since being reinvented as a hurdler. He won nicely enough in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham back in December, but the raw form of that leaves him some way behind the protagonists here, and it has to also be noted that he has often failed to produce his best at the Festival. It is hard to get enthusiastic about his chances from a win point of view.
Espoir D’Allen (20/1)
Espoir D’Allen (20/1) is an intriguing contender, who has only been beaten once in his career. However, the overall profile of his form leaves him with a bit to find. As a counterpoint you could argue he is overpriced, given the collateral form with Stormy Ireland in comparison to Laurina. However, I am always worried about supporting five-year-olds in this race, with Katchit (2008) the only one to win in recent years. It is more than likely that he will run with plenty of credit, but I see him coming up short on the day.
As mentioned, Melon appears to have totally lost the plot, and connections have hinted that they may apply some headgear to try and spark a revival. Obviously, a reproduction of last year’s run when narrowly beaten by Buveur D’Air would see him right in the mix, but recent evidence suggests he isn’t in love with the game at the moment and makes little appeal from a betting perspective.
Laurina – 4/1
Global Citizen – 33/1 (each-way)
More on Cheltenham Champion Hurdle 2019
The Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 horse race that takes place on the Cheltenham Day One, open to runners aged four or older. Taking place on the Old Course at Cheltenham, the Champion Hurdle is run over a distance of just over 2 miles, with a total of eight hurdles to be jumped also. The Champion Hurdle is also well-known for being the last leg of the Triple Crown of Hurdling, with jockeys including Tony McCoy and Ruby Walsh having come out on top in the past.
When is the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle? The 2019 Champion Hurdle will take place on Tuesday 12th March 2019 at 15:30, with reigning champion currently being the firm favourite in the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle betting with major online bookmakers. Let’s not take a closer look at some of the best Cheltenham Champion Hurdle betting offers, perfect for those looking for a helping hand when wagering on this famous race.
Champion Hurdle Betting Offers
A large number of online bookmakers will introduce generous and potentially lucrative betting offers that can potentially help punters to both maximise winnings and minimise losses. While such promotions will range between platforms, the most popular offers come in the form of non runner no bet, faller insurance, enhanced odds and best odds guaranteed, with all being available surrounding the Champion Hurdle.
As well as this, there are likely to be some promotions surrounding the Champion Hurdle specifically, which are available to both new and existing customers.
Offers are generally introduced in the build-up to the Festival itself, however some can be found online as early as January, perfect for those looking to place ante-post bets on the Champion Hurdle and other Cheltenham Festival races. Be sure to regularly check out our Cheltenham Festival Betting Offers page, which will be updated as soon as the first offer drops.
Betting On Champion Hurdle
A huge number of options are available to punters when it comes to betting on the Champion Hurdle, including a range of bookmakers, markets, odds and promotions. The following are among the most important factors to consider when looking to place a bet on the Champion Hurdle:
- Read Reviews – The first thing to consider is undoubtedly the platform in which you will use to place your bets. Here, it is important to read bookmaker reviews in order to get a better feel of what they offer, as this will potentially have an impact upon how easily bets are placed, as well as the potential winnings in which you take away.
- Check Odds – The prices offered by a bookmaker are perhaps the most important thing to consider when looking for a new betting platform, as this will determine the amount of cash that you take away when placing winning bets. Odds comparison websites can be used in this case, along with bookmaker reviews.
- Check Promotions – As previously mentioned, bookmaker offers can also help to ensure that punters come out on top when betting on the Champion Hurdle, whether it be a money back special or additional place for each-way bets.
- Check for Live Streaming Options – Many bookmakers now offer the ability to watch the action as it unfolds via desktop or mobile, with streams of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival helping to add to the excitement.
Champion Hurdle Past Winners – 2018 & 2017
Despite Buveur D’Air having dominated proceedings over recent times, the Champion Hurdle is well known for delivering some of the most exciting and surprising races from the Cheltenham Festival. The recent winners of the Champion Hurdle include:
2015 – Faugheen (Ruby Walsh)
2016 – Annie Power (Ruby Walsh)
2017 – Buveur D’Air (Noel Fehily)
2018 – Buveur D’Air (Barry Geraghty)
Champion Hurdle Results 2018
Buveur D’Air – Noel Fehily – Nicky Henderson – 5/1
My Tent Or Yours – Aiden Coleman – Nicky Henderson – 16/1
Petit Mouchoir – Bryan Cooper – Henry de Bromhead – 6/1
Buveur D’Air claimed a relatively easy win in 2017, with My Tent Or Yours making it a one-two for trainer Nicky Henderson. In a race with few major talking points, it was a comprehensive win for the French horse.
Champion Hurdle Results 2017
- Buveur D’air – B Geraghty – N Henderson – 4/6
- Melon – P Townend – W Mullins – 7/
- Mick Jazz – D Russell – G Elliott – 25/1
Reigning champion Buveur D’Air came out on top after a thrilling battle with Willie Mullins’ Melon, winning by just a neck after a fantastic comeback. Former winner Faugheen was unable to keep up with the duo, with Mick Jazz eventually finishing in third.
For those looking to back their favourite for the Champion Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, this page should undoubtedly help you along the way. Whether it be an ante-post or each-way bet, using a price boost or faller insurance promotion from your favourite bookmaker, there has never been a better time to bet on one of the most anticipated Grade 1 race at the upcoming Festival. Be sure to make a note of the race date, before backing your favourite runner and rider.