Champion Hurdle Trends

Champion Hurdle Trends 2022

The first championship race of the festival.

The best of the two mile hurdlers will fight for bragging rights around Cheltenham as categorically the best in the division.

Two mares top the ante-post markets but how do they stack up to the trends over the last few years?

We will delve into what type of horse is most likely to land this event off the back of past winners and what they did or didn't do before the race that helped them land the Grade One contest.

Stat One

First off, 11 of the 15 previous winners have been aged six, seven or eight, the most recent exception being over the age bracket was in 2016 when Annie Power was the super sub for Willie Mullins and Rich Richie.

This trend would cast some doubts over the chances of the third favourite Teahupoo, stablemate Zanahiyr, Adagio and Quilixios who are only five years old.

But having said that, Espoir D’Allen went against the trends to take the contest three years ago aged five and won by an eye-catching 15 lengths.

Stat Two

With this being a championship race, prior form is of upmost importance, all 15 previous winners had placed in the top four last time out.

14 out of 15 winners placed top three last time out and finally 12 of the 15 winners won last time out.

Honeysuckle, Appreciate It, Teahupoo and Epatante all sit at the top of the market and fit most of these credentials, with all of them winning last time out.

Coming in off the back of some solid form looks essential so be wary of those who are blowing out in their prep runs.

As usual course form has strong links to the winners of the Champion Hurdle and 12 of the 15 previous winners of the most prestigious hurdle race in the national hunt calendar had run at the previous year’s festival.

Couple this with the fact that 10 of those 12 winners had placed top 4 in that previous run at the festival and you see how important previous course form really is.

However, exceptions to the latter have come recently with Espoir D’Allen and Epatante both not placing at the festival the season before.

Stat Three

Previous festival experience at Punchestown has settled nicely in previous winners too with eight out of 14 having a run at the previous year’s festival, with seven out of those winning at the five day showcase in Ireland.

Honeysuckle, Annie Power, Faugheen, Jezki, Hurricane Fly, and Punjabi were all winners at the previous season’s Punchestown festival.

Stat Four

Class is a must have component for a championship horse, on paper this is a Grade One but it’s almost of it’s own level.

It needs a cut above the rest and that shows as nine of 15 previous winners had won at least two Grade One national hunt races.

eight of 15 had won at least three Grade One national hunt races.

Those ticking the latter of those boxes this season are Epatante, Honeysuckle and Supreme winner Appreciate It, leaving a lot of the field outside the bracket, including third favourite Teahupoo.

Stat Five

Finally, you can siphon out those with class in their blood, nine of the 15 winners have been sired by a Group One winner on the flat.

It might be interesting to note that Epatante and Honeysuckle who have won the race for the last two years fit this trend.

Value Angle

The value in the field lies with the second favourite Appreciate It who looks the only horse in the field who can serve it to Honeysuckle on the best of his form.

He has not been seen since winning the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival last year and if fully wound up could go close with Honeysuckle's last run leaving a little bit to be desired close home.

Set to be a cracker.

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