The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy is the most anticipated race of day 1 at the Cheltenham Festival and with a field of 36 horses, it’s not hard to see why. The race takes place at 3.30 on the 10th of March and is is the most prestigious race on what is unofficially dubbed “Champions Day”. 2020 marks the 90th running of the Champion Hurdle.
This race is a grade 1, 2m ½f distance with 8 hurdles to contend with. The price money for tis race alone is £450,000 (Winner: £256,275). Just imagine what the size money is for every race over the 4 days! For horses to qualify they must by 4 years or older and the following weights and Allowances: 5yo+ 11st 10lb; 4yo 11st 2lb. Allowances, mares 7lb.
The 5 most recent winners:
- 2019 – Espoir D’Allen
- 2018: Buveur D’Air
- 2017: Buveur D’Air
- 2016: Annie Power
- 2015: Faugheen
The favourite heading into this race is Epatante, trained by Nicky Henderson. Epatante notched up success in a limited handicap hurdle at Newbury in November. Following this was an impressive victory in the G1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Trainer, Henderson is the most successful handler in Unibet Champion Hurdle history with seven wins. Also statistically in her favour are her owners stats – J P McManus has won the race a record eight times. The five-year-old mare would become the fifth mare to claim the Unibet Champion Hurdle honours if successful.
It worth keeping an eye on the markets for Henderson’s other entries in this race. G1-winning mare Verdana Blue, last season’s G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner, Pentland Hills and G2 Unibet International Hurdle victor Call Me Lord all feature for the trainer.
Williams trained, Silver Streak finished
third in the 2019 Unibet Champion Hurdle and has continued in good
form this season.
“Silver Streak is in good order and the Unibet Champion Hurdle is the target. It is likely that he will go straight there, though the Kingwell at Wincanton [15 February] is a possibility beforehand. He ran really well in the Christmas Hurdle and keeps running with credit in these big two-mile hurdles. With a bit of luck, hopefully he could be placed in the Champion Hurdle again.”
Keep your eyes on the markets and do your homework for your best shot at landing a winner in the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy. Check out theracing.co.uk full race tips page on the day for the best insights pre-race.