Date: Tuesday (15:30), March 14, 2023
Type: Grade 1 National Hunt Hurdle Race
Distance: 2 Miles ½ Furlongs
Age Of The Horses: 4 Years Old and Older
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.
Tuesday 14 March 2023 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.
Five horses have won the Champion Hurdle three times; Hatton’s Grace (1949-51), Sir Ken (1952-1954), Persian War (1968-1970), See You Then (1985-1987) and Istabraq (1998-2000). The latter was owned by JP McManus who has won this race a record nine times while Nicky Henderson is the leading trainer.
Favourites have a good record in the Champion Hurdle with seven victories in the past eleven seasons. Reigning champion Honeysuckle is odds-on favourite in the Champion Hurdle betting 2023 as she and jockey Rachael Blackmore bid to extend their unbeaten run to fifteen races. Champion Hurdle offers are likely to feature enhanced odds on Honeysuckle for new customers. If successful, she will be the first mare to win the Champion Hurdle three times.
We look at the 2023 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 2023 Champion Hurdle betting guide designed to help in your quest to beat the bookies.
When is the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle? The 2023 Champion Hurdle will take place on Tuesday 14th March 2023 at 15:30, with reigning champion currently being the firm favourite in the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle betting with major online bookmakers.
With many of the 2023 Champion Hurdle Entries having performed well in trial races, the Champion Hurdle once again promises to be one of the most exciting races of the Festival. So, check out Ladbrokes Cheltenham promotions or similar offers by other brands and get ready for the show!
The Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious two-mile hurdle race in the calendar and is the feature race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. The 2023 renewal is likely to see Honeysuckle attempt to join five previous three-time winners; The remarkable mare will begin the 2022-23 National Hunt season unbeaten in all sixteen career starts including her famous Champion Hurdle victories in 2021 and 2022. She will also be seeking a fourth consecutive Cheltenham Festival victory after winning the Mares Hurdle in 2020. Rachael Blackmore has ridden Honeysuckle to all sixteen of her victories.
Honeysuckle won’t have it all her own way as there is a new ante-post favourite in Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill. Nicky Henderson trained See You Then to three consecutive victories and won the race for a record eighth time with Epatante in 2020. Constitution Hill won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by 22 lengths and was officially rated the best hurdler in training by the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification.
Honeysuckle has been kept in training for one more season as she bids to join the elite band of three-time Champion Hurdle winners. If she is successful there will hardly be a dry eye in the house following the tragic and devastating loss of the Trainer’s 13-year-old son Jack de Bromhead in a riding accident in September.
Honeysuckle will be nine years of age, the same as the legendary Hurricane Fly when he claimed his second success in 2013. She has won the Irish Champion Hurdle for the past three seasons and that race in early February will almost certainly tell us what chance she has of completing the hat-trick at Cheltenham.
The ante-post favourite for the Unibet Champion Hurdle 2023 is the unbeaten Constitution Hill. Nicky Henderson’s gelding has been described as a “freak” after routing the opposition in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle to win by 22 lengths. He beat stable companion Jonbon who would win a Grade 1 at Aintree next time. There is one note of caution in that Appreciate It had romped to a 24 lengths victory in the 2021 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle before finishing seventh in the 2022 Champion Hurdle.
Other pretenders to the Champion Hurdle crown include the Willie Mullins trained trio Vauban, State Man and Sir Gerhard. All three were successful at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, winning the Triumph Hurdle, County Hurdle and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle respectively. The pick of them could be State Man who ended his season with a smooth success in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Champion Hurdle 2023 betting (best advertised prices 14th September 2022)
A large number of online bookmakers 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.
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 2022 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Many bookmakers now offer the ability to watch the action as it unfolds via desktop or mobile, with streams of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival helping to add to the excitement.
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.
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.
Punters eager to get a clue as to how the 2022 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.
All eyes were on Honeysuckle and Rachael Blackmore in the 2022 Champion Hurdle, the combination starting odds-on favourite at 8-11. Her main market rival was Appreciate It, a runaway winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2021 but unraced since. There was also market support for the progressive Teahupoo at 9-1 while 2020 winner Epatante started at 16-1.
Supporters of the favourite never really had an anxious moment as Blackmore settled her comfortably behind the leaders. Honeysuckle was travelling easily with two to jump and she asserted at the final flight before forging clear to win by three and a half lengths. Epatante ran on well to make it a 1-2 for the mares with 28-1 outsider Zanahiyr in third spot. Epatante made a bad mistake at the final hurdle before rallying strongly and would gain deserved consolation with victory at Aintree next time.
Champion Hurdle 2022
10 ran. Winner owned by Kenneth Alexander, trained by Henry De Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore.
Epatante enhanced the fabulous Champion Hurdle records of trainer Nicky Henderson and owner JP McManus by justifying favouritism and a 2/1 starting price with an easy victory in the feature race on day one of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. Despite a slight mistake at the third last, she was always travelling well and tracked the leaders menacingly approaching the penultimate flight.
Barry Geraghty then produced Epatante to lead over the final hurdle and she quickly asserted on the run-in, putting the race to bed with a three-length victory over 16/1 shot Sharjah from the Willie Mullins stable. The runner-up turned the tables on Darver Star, who represented the best of the Irish Champion Hurdle form for Gavin Crowmell at odds of 17/2. He was a further 3 3/4 lengths behind in third, but 2¾ lengths ahead of Mullins’s supplementary entry Cilaos Emery.
Front-running Gigginstown House Stud owed horse Petit Mouchoir faded to be fifth and beaten 11½ lengths under Rachael Blackmore from the Henry De Bromhead yard at 25/1. The next best British runner in the Champion Hurdle was 20/1 chance Silver Streak, a further half-length down in sixth and finishing three places worse than the previous year for Welsh trainer Evan Williams and his regular jockey Adam Wedge.
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.
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.
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 2023 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.
Harvey Mayson has worked as a horseracing writer, blogger and tipster for several of the UK’s leading bookmakers and numerous other specialist racing sites. Harvey has great knowledge of horse racing history and was the author of the Paddy Power Cheltenham Festival and Aintree Grand National blog for three years. Harvey’s blog at the Cheltenham Festival in 2014 included a 100,000-1 ante-post four-timer while he correctly forecast the first four winners on Grand National day in 2015. He also tipped three Grand National winners in a row and eleven consecutive winning nap selections.