Champion Hurdle Date is March 11, 2020
Type: Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race (2 miles ½ furlongs)
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The standout race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival is undoubtedly the Champion. 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 2020 having performed well in trial races, the Champion Hurdle once again promises to be one of the most exciting races of the Festival.
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Cheltenham Champion Hurdle 2020 Preview & Tips
Preview By Frank Monkhouse
Former professional boxer who is now a content writer specialising in sports and betting. Has worked for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Coral and Betfair covering all manner of sports, from boxing and football to horse racing. A student of the formbook, he loved stats, trends, numbers and how they can guide punters towards a winner.
2020 Champion Hurdle
Tuesday 10 March 2020 brings the curtain up on the Cheltenham Festival and the first race, as is always the case, will be greeted by the famous roar from the stands of Prestbury Park. We have an action-packed opener ahead with several Grand 1 races included.
Standout of the afternoon, without any doubt, will be the last running of the popular Champion Hurdle. Followers have enjoyed some memorable renewals over the years and the early field listed for this March tells us to expect another thriller.
We look at the 2020 Champion Hurdle in detail below, taking in everything from the current betting odds available on the antepost market to past winners, trends and there’s even a Champion Hurdle betting guide designed to help in your quest to beat the bookies.
Key Runners & Favourites
The 2020 Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy may still be some months away but that hasn’t stopped traders going up with their thoughts on the winner of the race. The odds makers at all major bookmakers have made available antepost betting on Champion Hurdle 2020 and that has captured the attention of shrewd backers who like to get in early and secure a better price about their preferred runner.
The earlier you bet the more risk involved. This is because you could back a selection to win the Champion Hurdle only for it to run at Cheltenham Festival in another contest. Your pick could suffer an injury between now and the off and miss the festival entirely. In both instances you would lose your stake money without getting a run.
That’s the reason why many backers prefer to wait until firms make their non runner money back promotions available. With this promo you get the safety net of knowing your funds will be returned in full if your horse doesn’t compete in the race. This doesn’t come into play until much closer to race month, however.
Antepost betting may carry a risk but that is balanced out by the rewards offered by bookies. The odds available in the antepost market are usually much better than what is available to backers betting on the day of the race. Let’s take a closer look at the current betting and how traders expect the 2020 Champion Hurdle to play out.
Klassical Dream (3/1)
Klassical Dream was pinned to the head of the antepost market almost immediately and will take some shifting if he’s to start the race any further down the pecking order. Traders seem convinced this is the best horse in the field and if he runs in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle, he will be too good for his rivals on the day. That’s a bold call but it’s difficult to argue against.
The form of Klassical Dream makes him one to keep on the right side of and the majority of money laid on the antepost market has been for this jolly. There is no shortage of punters who agree with the traders and make Klassical Dream the one to beat. He’s favourite, but how strong a favourite should he be? That is a question that continues to divide opinion amongst bookmakers at this stage and they are showing no signs of meeting in the middle.
Any indecisiveness on the trading floor is great news for the value hunters amongst us. Some firms, including bet365, have been generous enough to offer odds of 7/2 on Klassical Dream but the majority are happy enough to sit closer to the 3/1 mark. There’s enough room in there to squeeze out the value.
Klassical Dream’s CV at the time of writing shows he has won each of his first four starts over jumps and is already off the mark for the season. The five-year-old gelding got off to a winning start at Leopardstown on Boxing Day 2018 when claiming a 20-runner maiden hurdle over a couple of miles.
He got the season off to a winning start when banking the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in April. The victor saw off runner up Felix Desjy by more than five lengths that day.
Buveur D’Air (6/1)
Buveur D’Air is always popular in the antepost list of whatever race he is due to run in and this has been no different. He’s a real fans favourite who followers know is more than good enough to serve up a challenge to Klassical Dream in this year’s Champion Hurdle and upset the odds to win the contest. Buveur D’Air claiming glory would come as little surprise to bookies or punters.
That’s the reason why you’ll find him circling as a second favourite, but again there’s a difference of opinion. Unibet offer a market best price of 13/2 on Buveur D’Air living up to expectations and winning this race but others are tighter. Most other firms give the second fav the credit he deserves and trade no more than 6/1. That’s the general feeling at present. If you plan on backing Buveur D’Air in this race, be sure to do it at Unibet to ensure your stake money works as hard as possible.
The recent stats of Buveur D’Air show the eight-year-old gelding trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by JP McManus has won 15 of 21 races over jumps so far, with another four placed efforts included on his card. He won back in May when claiming the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle at Punchestown off an SP 2/1, beating Supasundae into second by a gap of 2 ½ lengths.
Pentland Hills (10/1)
Another that has caught the eye of early backers and another, if he runs in the race, will continue to be popular right up to the tape. He is 10/1 with just about every online betting firm worth a mention at this stage but we expect that price to edge in if he has the kind of strong season that is expected of him. If you hold high hopes for Pentland Hills winning the Champion Hurdle you should act before the odds are slashed across the board. Ladbrokes offer 10/1 on this runner but some firms are 8/1.
Lovers of national hunt horse racing won’t be blown away by the respect shown to Pentland Hills in the antepost betting and there’s little doubt he is near the head of a very talented list on merit. The four-year-old gelding is another out of the Nicky Henderson yard and has won three of three over jumps so far, having also campaigned on the flat. He’s a speedster with a great turn of foot but has the stamina to compete over the longer distances.
Pentland Hills marked his jumps debut with a win at Plumpton and completed the hattrick at Aintree in April. The latter saw him clinch the Grade 1 Doom Bar Anniversary over a couple of miles, beating Fakir D’Oudairies by a neck in what was a thrilling finish. There’s more to come from this runner, as we’ll see in the build up to the Cheltenham Festival 2020.
We move onto Saldier as we begin to move into the bigger prices, runners that are capable of going close but if they were to win the Champion Hurdle it would come as a bit of a shock to traders. Saldier is available in the antepost betting as a 16/1 play at Skybet with some of their main rivals down at 12/1. That’s quite a difference and the four points gap alone will encourage value hunters to act and take a punt on this contender.
Saldier comes to us from the Wullie Mullins yard so we can be sure he’ll be fit and raring to go at the tape. The five-year-old gelding has campaigned over jumps five times already, winning two of his outings and placing third in another. This is a step up in class from what he is used to, of course, but the early signs suggest he has the skills and scope for improvement needed to make the grade. He fell at Naas in November but that really shouldn’t put anyone off. Saldier won at Punchestown the start before when contesting a Grade 1 two miler, beating Mr Adjudicator by three lengths.
Others worth a mention in the antepost betting to win the Champion Hurdle are Fusil Raffles at 16/1 with Betfair, Benie Des Dieux 20/1 (bet365), Felix Desjy 25/1 (Unibet), Coeur Sublime 25/1 (bet365), Aramon 33/1 (bet365), Shariah 33/1 (Blacktype) and Getaway Trump 33/1 (Betfair).
Champion Hurdle Stats & Trends
One way to pick your horses for the Cheltenham Festival and, in particular, the Champion Hurdle, is by researching the stats and trends associated with the contest. This will take a little more time than reading reviews, taking Champion Hurdle 2020 tips or simply going with the race favourite but it will be time well spent if it returns a profit.
The Champion Hurdle trends can prove quite useful when cutting down the field. Let’s look at some of the trends associated with the Champion Hurdle.
- There’s a five-way tie for the most successful horse in this race with each of the horses mentioned sitting on three titles. The names in the frame are Hatton’s Grace who won in 1949, 1950 and 1951, Sir Ken 1952, 1953 and 1954, Persian War 1968, 1969 and 1970, See You Then 1985, 1986 and 1987, Istabraq 1998, 1999 and 2000.
- There’s also a tie for the leading jockey and we have two riders locked on four wins. That is Tim Molony and Ruby Walsh. The latter won on Hurricane’s Fly in 2011 and 2013, Faugheen in 2015 and, most recently, on top of Annie Power who scooted to victory in 2016.
- There’s simply no doubting who the leading trainer is with Nicky Henderson responsible for no less than seven past champions. See You Then accounts for three of those, Punjabi 2009, Binocular 2010 and Buveur D’Air in 2017 and 2018 filling in the blanks.
- Champion Hurdle leading owner, with a bit to spare, is JP McManus on eight wins, achieved between 1998 and 2019. He had the champion last year and will want more of the same in 2020 when the festival returns.
- Age doesn’t seem to count for too much in this race, although two of the last five champions have been seven years old at the time of landing victory.
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.
Champion Hurdle Betting Guide
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. The more you read on the form the better chance you will have of landing a winner. Read interviews, expert previews, form, trends, Champion Hurdle tips and even gossip columns. Arm yourself with as much info as you can before risking your cash on this year’s race.
- 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. Do research on which bookies are offering market best price on your chosen horse. Any price comparison website will make this clear. Simply choose the race you want to bet on, and you’ll see a full list of prices offered on your pick by different bookies. The top offer will be highlighted, that’s the bookmaker you should bet with.
- 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.
- Bet on Antepost Markets – all major online betting firms have gone up with their antepost books for the Cheltenham Festival races, including the Champion Hurdle. This allows you to get in early and secure a better price about your pick than the one that will be available to those betting on the day. If you are confident in your selection it would be wise to back it antepost.
- Get Access to Live Streaming – many of the most popular and advanced online betting sites and apps offer live betting and live streaming on major sports, including horse racing. At the likes of Coral, you are able to watch the Cheltenham Festival through an HD quality stream on your desktop computer or mobile app at no extra cost. Bet on the race and cheer your selection home to victory.
Champion Hurdle Past Winners
Punters eager to get a clue as to how the 2020 Champion Hurdle may pan out will pour over the stats and past runnings of the race. Last year’s event was won by Espoir D’Allen who beat off Melon into second with Silver Streak making up the major places when finishing third.
2015 – Faugheen (Ruby Walsh)
2016 – Annie Power (Ruby Walsh)
2017 – Buveur D’Air (Noel Fehily)
2018 – Buveur D’Air (Barry Geraghty)
What Happened in 2019?
The 2019 champion came good against the expectations of traders and continued the trend of recent losing favourites in this race. Espoir D’Allen was weighed in as a 16/1 SP victor for Gavin Cromwell and JP McManus. Melon was a 20/1 second with Silver Streak placing at a chunky 80/1.
Espoir D’Allen’s victory ended the dominance of Buveur D’Air who had won each of the previous two runnings of the Champion Hurdle and many, in the antepost markets, expected him to go and complete the hat-trick. It wasn’t to be and, on race day, the champion secured a convincing victory that saw him cross the line unchallenged with none of the main finishers able to land a glove on Espoir D’Allen. That will go down as one of the most convincing wins of this test in recent times.
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 – 7/1
- 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.
In the run up to the Cheltenham Festival you will see a number of trial races take place, including trials for the Unibet Champion Hurdle. These are important as they give vital clues on form and the fitness of the main runners in the frame for entry. Study the results and race times here before making your final bets on the Prestbury Park festival of horse racing.
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.