Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

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The Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy is the feature race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival, starring the fastest two-mile hurdlers in the land.

Shiskin's jockey celebrates winning the Champion Hurdle
DateTuesday, March 16, 2021
Start Time15:30
Distance2m½f
TypeHurdle
Prize£450,000
Where to WatchCheltenham live stream at MansionBet
Current FavouriteEpatante
Horses’ Age4+ Years.
Cheltenham Festival Day 1: Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

The Champion Hurdle is the feature race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival and is a test of raw speed and fast, nimble hurdling ability. Perhaps more so than in any other race at Cheltenham, the ability get from A-to-B quickly over the obstacles and without losing momentum is hugely important.

No trainer knows more about winning this contest than Nicky Henderson, with Britain’s champion handler now boasting a record eight wins after the mare Epatante scored in 2020, following hot on the heels of wins for Buveur D’Air in 2017 and 2018.

The Seven Barrows maestro sees his tally bettered by the leading owner, JP McManus, who appears to favour this race above all others. Istabraq (1998, 1999, 2000) began his odyssey and McManus runners have won the last four Champion Hurdles.

Hurricane Fly and Faugheen are amongst other recent greats to win, while Annie Power’s redemptive score in 2016 was amongst the sweetest in many years, the Willie Mullins-trained winner becoming the first mare since Dawn Run in 1984 to beat the boys.

Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy: Betting Odds

HorseLatest Odds*
Epatante6/4
Saint Roi6/1
Abacadabras13/2
Goshen8/1
*All odds correct at time of writing

Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy: Recent Winners

YearHorseJockeyTrainer
2020EpatanteBarry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2019Espoir D’AllenMark WalshGavin Cromwell
2018Buveur D’AirBarry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2017Buveur D’AirNoel FehilyNicky Henderson
2016Annie PowerRuby WalshWillie Mullins
Source: Wikipedia

Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy: Tips, Predictions and Previews

Can anyone halt owner JP McManus’ stranglehold on the two-mile Championship race over hurdles? He’s destined to once again have a strong team with reigning champ Epatante due back and Buveur D’Air being readied for a crack at regaining the mantle after injury prevented him going for the hat-trick in 2019.

Last season’s Supreme Novices’ second Abacadabras is heading down this route, while Gary Moore will be hoping Goshen can ‘do an Annie Power’ by winning this race 12 month after an agonising final flight departure with Cheltenham glory at his mercy in the Triumph Hurdle.

Aspire Tower is another juvenile from last season hoping to graduate, while Honeysuckle remained unbeaten when she won the Mares’ Hurdle here in 2020 and her trainer Henry De Bromhead will be pondering the possibility of dropping in trip to face this field.

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