|Tuesday, March 15, 2022
|Where to Watch
|Cheltenham live stream
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.
2022 Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy: Tips and Predictions
|Last season’s Champion Hurdle winner Honeysuckle was very impressive on her seasonal reappearance at Fairyhouse and she remains unbeaten over hurdles. She is currently the 8/11 ante-post favourite for the feature race on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. Sharjah is the 8/1 second favourite in the ante-post market and he also got off to the perfect start this season, winning the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown. Epatante sits just behind him at 9/1 in the market and she dead-heated with Not So Sleepy in a thrilling renewal of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
Epatante could be the value in the race at this stage as she was not at her best last season, but Aidan Coleman was bullish after the race and thought her jumping was a lot better than it had been for most of last season. You also can’t forget how good Appreciate It was in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last March, winning the race by 24 lengths and he will surely play a big part in this year’s Champion Hurdle.
Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy: Betting OddsEvent finished - Check out the latest markets
Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy: Recent Winners
|H de Bromnead