Christmas Hurdle Race Date is Saturday, 26 December 2021

Racecourse: Kempton

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Type: Grade 1 National Hunt Hurdle Race

Age Of The Horses: Four Years Old And Up

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Distance: 2 Miles

Page Contents

General Race Info

Runners & Tips

Stats & Trends

Past Winners

Christmas Hurdle General Info

The Kempton Christmas Hurdle should not be confused with a race registered in the same name at Leopardstown over three miles in Ireland during the Christmas Festival and held a couple of days later. We are talking about the two-mile hurdle race held on the King George card on Boxing Day here. What does the 2020 Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle have in store? Let’s find out.

Christmas Hurdle 2021 Runners & Tips

The Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle is a significant trial for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.  The Christmas Hurdle 2021 entries include 2020 Champion Hurdler Epatante and Not So Sleepy who recently dead-heated in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. Last season’s Betfair Hurdle winner Soaring Glory and last weekend’s Betfair Exchange Trophy winner Tritonic are staking a step up in grade. The Christmas hurdle 2021 runners are completed by the consistent handicapper Glory And Fortune.

Christmas Hurdle 2.30 Kempton Park – Sunday 26th December

  1. Glory And Fortune (Tom Lacey)
  2. Not So Sleepy (Hughie Morrison)
  3. Soaring Glory (Jonjo O’Neill)
  4. Tritonic (Alan King)
  5. Epatante (Nicky Henderson)

Christmas Hurdle 2021 Tips

Ante-post betting on the Christmas Hurdle has been dominated by Epatante. Nicky Henderson immediately nominated this race as the mare’s next target after her reappearance win at Newcastle. Her presence has frightened off many Christmas Hurdle 2021 entries and she is likely to start a strong odds-on favourite.

There was nothing between Epatante and Not So Sleepy at Newcastle and the pair are set to renew rivalry. Not So Sleepy is likely to feature in plenty of Christmas Hurdle tips at around 100-30 with Soaring Glory and Tritonic at 6-1. Glory And Fortune is the rank outsider at 33-1.

Epatante

Nicky Henderson’s Epatante was a brilliant winner of the 2020 Champion Hurdle and finished third behind Honeysuckle in this year’s renewal. She also won this race in spectacular fashion in 2019, a victory that resulted in her leapfrogging to the head of the Champion Hurdle betting. She justified favouritism with an impressive 3 lengths victory over Sharjah.

Last season she began with a comfortable win in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle but was surprisingly beaten here by the front-running Silver Streak. It was clear from very early on that she was not jumping with her usual fluency and she was treated for a back problem at the end of the season.

Her return to action at Newcastle was not entirely convincing. After travelling smoothly to the front, Jockey Aidan Coleman had to get serious with her approaching the last flight. Epatante was joined on the line by Not So Sleepy with Sceau Royal a length and a half back in third. Despite failing to impress everyone that day, Epatante will feature in plenty of Christmas Hurdle tips.

Not So Sleepy

Not So Sleepy features among the Christmas Hurdle 2021 favourites after bravely forcing a dead-heat with Epatante at Newcastle last month. Hughie Morrison’s versatile performer has twice finished fourth in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket but is best known for his all-the-way hurdles victories at Ascot.

He first made all the running to win at Ascot off a rating of 122 in November 2019 before following up in the valuable Betfair Exchange Trophy off a 5lbs higher mark. He returned for a repeat win in that race off a 15lbs higher mark last year and finished a creditable fifth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Jonathan Burke rode him with restraint at Newcastle, allowing the 200-1 outsider Voix Du Reve to lead at a steady pace until approaching the second last. Not So Sleepy was not fluent at the either of the last two hurdles but still battled back bravely to share the spoils.

Tritonic

Alan King has decided to run last weekend’s Betfair Exchange Trophy winner Tritonic. The four-year-old was expected to take high rank among the top juveniles last season but was disappointing in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. He had won his previous start over course and distance here by 10 lengths.

Beaten in his first two races this winter at Cheltenham, Tritonic returned to his best when beating Onemorefortheroad at Ascot last Saturday. King’s decision to run him again so soon has probably been influenced by the small field and the prospect of good ground at Kempton. Tritonic’s best form has been on a sound surface.

The pace could be key to the outcome of this race and is worth considering for your Christmas Hurdle 2021 tips. Not So Sleepy is the only obvious pace-setter in the five-runner field. Epatante, Tritonic and Soaring Glory have all shown their best form when coming from off the pace so it could come down to whoever has the best turn of foot.

Christmas Hurdle Offers

The Christmas Hurdle precedes the Boxing Day feature race, the King George VI Chase, on Kempton’s biggest day of the year. Epatante’s prospects of regaining her Champion Hurdle crown will become much clearer and the race will certainly have an impact on the Cheltenham ante-post betting. Christmas Hurdle 2021 offers are likely to focus on favourite Nicky Henderson’s mare who will be ridden by Nico de Boinville on Sunday.

Special Christmas Hurdle offers include free bets for new customers while existing customers can take advantage of enhanced place terms on Kempton handicap races. Sponsors Ladbrokes will provide customers with £20 in free bets if they open a new account and bet £5. The race is due off at 2.30 pm at Kempton Park on Sunday 26th December and will be televised live on ITV. 

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Christmas Hurdle Stats & Trends

Before you dive into the Christmas Hurdle betting, it is well worth making yourself aware of the statistics behind the race. Knowing these can help you decide who to back and why. Also, make sure to check William Hill Cheltenham offer and the likes from other bookies to get the most out of your bet. Read all about the prevailing Kempton Christmas Hurdle trends below:

  • Most successful horse – Seven horses have won this race more than once. They are Coral Diver (1969 and 1971), Lanzarote (1973 and 1975), Kribensis (1988 and 1989), Intersky Falcon (2002 and 2003), Harchibald (2004 and 2005), Binocular (2010 and 2011), and Faugheen (2014 and 2015).
  • Most successful jockey – National Hunt riding legend Sir Tony McCoy holds the record for most Kempton Christmas Hurdle wins in the saddle with five. Nico de Boinville is the only current active jockey to have tasted victory in this race.
  • Most successful trainerNicky Henderson is the master with Christmas Hurdle runners, saddling nine to victory this century. As mentioned above, that includes the last three renewals of the race. Eight different horses from Henderson’s Seven Barrows stables have come into the winners’ enclosure to date: Geos (2000), Landing Light (2001), Binocular (2010 and 2011), Darlan (2012), My Tent Or Yours (2013), Buveur D’Air (2017), Verdana Blue (2018) and Epatante (2019).
  • Most successful owner – Mega racehorse owner JP McManus is out on his own as having won this the most. His famous green and gold hooped silks have been carried to victory on Christmas Hurdle runners eight times since 2007. McManus has also had two thirds and a second, meaning he has had a horse at least placed on 11 occasions in the last 13 years.
  • Age – Five Kempton Christmas Hurdle winners from 2013 have been six-year-olds. Only three horses aged four in the entire race’s history have managed to win, highlighting the difficulty they face stepping into open company. Three winners since 2010 have also been seven-year-olds. There have also been a couple of horses aged five to earn victory from 2012. You should focus on the five-to-seven age bracket, then.
  • FavouritesFive of the last six market leaders have won the Christmas Hurdle, so it has certainly paid to follow main betting fancies. The favourite has a superb recent record, then.
  • Ratings – Eight of the 12 most recent Kempton Christmas Hurdle winners had an official mark of 160 or higher. That shows you need horses with very lofty ratings to land the race usually. However, it is also worth bearing in mind that three of the last four victors were rated 157 or less going into the contest. That suggests you not discount unexposed young horses that are open to further improvement and progressing from run to run.

Past Christmas Hurdle Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer Festival Performance
2020 Silver Streak 7 Adam Wedge Evan Williams 6th in Champion Hurdle
2019 Epatante 5 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson Won Champion Hurdle
2018 Verdana Blue 6 Nico de Boinville Nicky Henderson 5th in Champion Hurdle
2017 Buveur D’Air 6 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson 1st in Champion Hurdle
2016 Yanworth 6 Barry Geraghty Alan King 7th in Champion Hurdle
2015 Faugheen 7 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins Did not race
2014 Faugheen 6 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 1st in Champion Hurdle
2013 My Tent Or Yours 6 Tony McCoy Nicky Henderson 2nd in Champion Hurdle
2012 Darlan 5 Tony McCoy Nicky Henderson Did not race
2011 Binocular 7 Tony McCoy Nicky Henderson 4th in Champion Hurdle
2010 Binocular 7 Tony McCoy Nicky Henderson Did not race

What Happened in 2020?

A deserved Grade 1 success for Silver Streak came at last in the Kempton Christmas Hurdle as Evan Williams’ horse kept it simple and made all the running. In landing odds of 13/2, he reversed the form of last year’s race under Adam Wedge and upset long odds-on favourite Epatante who had previously had his number. The popular grey set out his stall from the front and never saw another rival. As Silver Streak sluiced up in the Christmas Hurdle, Epatante made mistakes and was never nearer than three lengths down at the last. Aidan Coleman accepted defeat on the run-in as JP McManus’ Nicky Henderson trained mare trailed in 6½ lengths behind.

Last year’s Christmas Hurdle third Ballyandy filled the same spot again for father-son team Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies at odds of 16/1, but was some 15 lengths behind Silver Streak. Henderson’s other mare Floressa was never put in the race really and unfancied 22/1, but just lost out on a place under Nico de Boinville. She in turn was 45 lengths clear of 50/1 outsider Diego Du Charmil for Harry Cobden and Paul Nicholls. The small Kempton Christmas Hurdle field was blown apart by such positive tactics on Silver Streak, who can finally celebrate success at the highest level. Bookmakers have pushed Epatante out for the Champion Hurdle.