Champion Hurdle Race Card

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)

1st
Barry Geraghty

Epatante

Age: 6
Weight: 11.2
OR: 159
J:
 
Barry Geraghty
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
in touch, not fluent 3 out, tracked leaders going well before 2 out, led last, asserted and ran on well final 100yds
2nd
Mr P W Mullins

Sharjah

Age: 7
Weight: 11.7
OR: 163
J:
 
Mr P W Mullins
T:
 
W P Mullins
held up in rear, headway going well 2 out, ridden to chase winner run-in, no impression
3rd
Jonathan Moore

Darver Star

Age: 8
Weight: 11.7
OR: 158
J:
 
Jonathan Moore
T:
 
Gavin Cromwell
tracked leaders, went 2nd 4 out, ridden to lead between last 2, headed last, lost 2nd run-in, kept on same pace final 100yds
4th
Paul Townend

Cilaos Emery

Age: 8
Weight: 11.7
OR: 159
J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
held up, headway before 3 out, ridden to chase leaders and close up approaching last, kept on under pressure run-in, edged left final 75yds, one pace after

Fourth race of Champions Day

The fourth race on Day One of the Festival is the Champion Hurdle, the third of four Grade One contests on the day and is the first graded race not just open to novices.

The race is run over 2 miles with eight hurdles for the runners to negotiate, with the race being open to horses aged four and above.

The race is one of the biggest of the meeting and that is shown in the prize money, with £253,000 on offer to the winner.

History of the Champion Hurdle

The race was simply known as the Champion Hurdle when it started in 1927 and only began to receive sponsorship in 1978 from Waterford Crystal.

The Smurtif began to support the race in 1991 before bookmaker Stan James took over from 2010 to 2017. They were then replaced by parent company Unibet, who still have the rights to the race.

The race has many multiple winners over the years, with five horses winning the race on three occasions, they are as followed:

Hatton's Grace – (1949, 1950, 1951)

Sir Ken – (1952, 1953, 1954)

Persian War – (1968, 1969, 1970)

See You Then – (1985, 1986, 1987)

Istabraq – (1998, 1999, 2000)

Despite the race being open to both sexes, it has only been won by four mares, those four can be seen below:

African Sister (1939)

Dawn Run (1984)

Flakey Dove (1994)

Annie Power (2016)

Recent years

Nicky Henderson has dominated in the race in recent years, including winning it in 2017 and 2018 with Buveur D’Air, which took him to seven race victories, more than any other trainer. He’s had success with the following horses:

See You Then (1985, 1986, 1987)

Punjabi (2009)

Binocular (2010)

Buveur D'Air (2017, 2018)

Buveur D’Air is owned by owner JP McManus, who has won the race on a record 8 occasions, including last year with Espoir d’Allen for Gavin Cromwell and Mark Walsh. The 2019 winner won’t be back in 2020 to defend his crown after suffering a fatal injury however JP will no doubt be back for glory, he’s won the race with the following:

Istabraq (1998, 1999, 2000)

Binocular (2010)

Jezki (2014)

Buveur D'Air (2017, 2018

Espoir d'Allen (2019)

The 2020 Festival will be strange for racing fans without the presence of Ruby Walsh, who has enjoyed sustained success within the race, winning it on four occasions, that’s the joint most alongside Tim Molony. The pair won the prestigious race on the following mounts:

Ruby Walsh:

Hurricane Fly (2011, 2013)

Faugheen (2015)

Annie Power (2016)

Tim Molony:

Hatton's Grace (1951

Sir Ken (1952, 1953, 1954)

Walsh’s four wins in the race all came for Willie Mullins who has won four of the last 11 renewals of the race with Henderson the same, which means the pair share eight of the last 11 winners and it will be worth noting anything they field as well as the domination of JP McManus, who has owned the last three winners and anything that has the famous Green and Gold colours in the field will be worth looking at closely.

When The Fun Stops. Stop.