Champion Hurdle

The Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious hurdling prize of the season ran over two miles and ½ furlong on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival in March. The Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race at Cheltenham Racecourse is open to horses aged four years or older.

A season target for the best hurdlers in Britain and Ireland the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle is the most competitive hurdle race in the UK. Ante-post odds are available all-year-round and it is one of the top festival betting races, as well as one of the most eagerly anticipated of the festival for horse racing fans.

It is often one of the races of the festival and has been won by hurdling greats including Hurricane Fly, Faugheen, Sea Pigeon and Isabraaq.

The 2022 Champion Hurdle promises to be another superb renewal with Honeysuckle attempting to defend her crown and unbeaten record, against the likes of Appreciate It, Epatante (another former winner) and Sharjah.

Find out more about the Champion Hurdle:

Champion Hurdle Runners

The Champion Hurdle Race – Overview

The Champion Hurdle race is run over 2 miles, at the Cheltenham Racecourse with eight flights of hurdles jumped. It is run in early March on the first day of the national hunt Cheltenham Festival.

The Champion Hurdle is one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the entire jumps calendar and has produced some stunning performances over the years.

It truly is a race where champions are made. The best horses of recent years including Isabraaq, Hurricane Fly and Faugheen have all stormed up the stiff Cheltenham hill to enjoy success, whilst recently mares have had a great record with Annie Power, Epatante and Honeysuckle all crowned champions in the spring sunshine, hurtling over the eight hurdles.

The Champion Hurdle winner is generally considered to be the best hurdler of the year, with the race posing the perfect test of speed and accurate jumping for a horse and jockey. A winner goes down in history and is remembered fondly forever.

Speed, slick jumping, guts and a touch of class are all hallmarks of a Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner.

Champion Hurdle 2023 Betting News

Honeysuckle is an ante-post favourite for the 2023 Champion Hurdle after her commanding victory in the 2022 race and an impressive return to action in 2023 season. She is odds on with most of the top betting sites today

The unbeaten filly is undoubtedly the class horse in the race and the one all the other hurdlers have to beat.

She is trained by the great Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead, where she gave him his first Champion Hurdle success. 

Champion Hurdle 2023 Odds

Here are the latest 2023 Champion Hurdle odds:

  • Brandy Love – 9-4
  • Constitution Hill – 7-2
  • Honeysuckle – 8-1
  • Vauban – 8-1
  • Sir Gerhard – 20-1
  • Bob Olinger – 20-1

As you can Honeysuckle is short odds to defend her title.

*The prices of the racehorses and the Champion Hurdle odds can fluctuate daily in the ante-post betting markets. But punters enjoy trying to beat the bookies with ante-post odds being larger than the SP price on the day of the betting event.

And below are the best Champion Hurdle betting offers:

Champion Hurdle 2023 Tips

Below are our tips for the Champion Hurdle in 2023:

  • 2 points to win for HONEYSUCKLE with good odds of 8-1
  • 1 point each way for SIR GERHARD with bigger odds of 20-1

TIP – During the year, some of the horses set to compete in the Champion Hurdle will run in key trials, so keep an eye on your fancies and bet early if you see some promise in the ante-post betting odds markets, there is often great value to be had.

Previous Champion Hurdle Winners

Here are the details of the previous Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winners.

Year Horse Age Ratings Jockey Trainer
2021 Honeysuckle 7 Years Old 161 Offical Rating Rachael Blackmore Henry De Bromhead
2020 Epatante 6 Years Old 159 Offical Rating Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2019 Espoir D’Allen 5 Years Old 162 Offical Rating Mark Walsh Gavin Cromwell
2018 Buveur D’Air 7 Years Old 169 Offical Rating Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2017 Buveur D’Air 6 Years Old 157 Offical Rating Noel Fehily Nicky Henderson
2016 Annie Power 8 Years Old 162 Offical Rating Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2015 Faugheen 7 Years Old 169 Offical Rating Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2014 Jezki 6 Years Old 165 Offical Rating Barry Geraghty Jessica Harrington
2013 Hurricane Fly 9 Years Old 172 Offical Rating Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2012 Rock On Ruby 7 Years Old 165 Offical Rating Noel Fehily Paul Nicholls

Ages of Champion Hurdlers

Here are the latest Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winners ages:

  • Honeysuckle aged 7 Years Old
  • Epatante aged 6 Years Old
  • Espoir D’Allen aged 5 Years Old
  • Buveur D’Air aged 7 Years Old
  • Buveur D’Air aged 6 Years Old
  • Annie Power aged 8 Years Old
  • Faugheen aged 7 Years Old
  • Jezki aged 6 Years Old
  • Hurricane Fly aged 9 Years Old
  • Rock On Ruby aged 7 Years Old

Official Ratings of Champion Hurdle Winners

Here are the latest Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winners ratings:

  • Honeysuckle aged 161 Offical Rating
  • Epatante aged 159 Offical Rating
  • Espoir D’Allen 162 Offical Rating
  • Buveur D’Air 169 Offical Rating
  • Buveur D’Air 157 Offical Rating
  • Annie Power 162 Offical Rating
  • Faugheen aged 169 Offical Rating
  • Jezki aged 165 Offical Rating
  • Hurricane Fly 172 Offical Rating
  • Rock On Ruby 165 Offical Rating

Winning Times in the Cheltenham Hurdle

Here are the latest Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winners times:

  • Honeysuckle winning time is 3:54.63
  • Epatante winning time is 4:07.03
  • Espoir D’Allen winning time is 3:59.07
  • Buveur D’Air winning time is 4:05.00
  • Buveur D’Air winning time is 3:50.90
  • Annie Power winning time is 3:45.10
  • Faugheen winning time is 3:50.90
  • Jezki winning time is 3:45.25
  • Hurricane Fly winning time is 3:59.35
  • Rock On Ruby winning time is 3:50.10

Greatest Champion Hurdle Winners

Here are the best Champion Hurdle Winners voted by our punters:

  1. Istabraq
  2. Honeysuckle
  3. Hatton’s Grace
  4. Hardy Eustace
  5. Hurricane Fly
  6. Buveur D’Air
  7. Persian War
  8. Sir Ken
  9. See You Then
  10. Annie Power

Check out our top Champion Hurdle Winners.

Famous Champion Hurdle History

First run in 1927 the feature race on day one Cheltenham has been won by notable early winners including Hatton’s Grace (1949-1951) and Sir Ken (1952-1954).

Persian War (1968-1970) became the third horse to claim three successive victories and a triple winner, having won the Triumph Hurdle as a four-year-old.

The 1970s and early eighties produced some of the most famous hurdlers in the history of National Hunt racing. Comedy of Errors won in 1973 and 1975 for legendary trainer Fred Rimell while Fred Winter was successful with Bula (1971, 1972) and Lanzarote (1974).

Peter Easterby saddled Night Nurse for back-to-back victories in 1976 and 1977. He also trained Sea Pigeon, twice runner-up behind Irish-trained Monksfield (1978 and 1979) before being crowned the Hurdles Champion in 1980 and 1981.

Dawn Run was a popular winner in 1984 and would go on to become the first horse in history to win both the Champion and the Cheltenham Gold Cup when claiming the top chasing prize in 1986.

Dawn Run Raceehorse

Nicky Henderson’s See You Then (1985-1987) became the fourth horse to claim three Champion wins, a feat matched by Aidan O’Brien’s Istabraq (1998-2000). The latter was a hot favourite for unprecedented fourth success in 2001 but the meeting was abandoned because of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

The success of Istabraq was the pre-cursor to a remarkable run of success in the race for owner JP McManus. His famous green and gold silks would be carried to victory by Binocular (2010), Jezki (2014), Buveur d’air (2017, 2018), Espoir D’Allen (2019) and Epatante (2020).

Other popular winners include in 2012 Rock on Ruby, whilst in 2016 Annie Power was a popular winner for the mares and jockey Ruby Walsh.

Key Champion Hurdle Trials

The previous year’s race is often a key guide to Champion Hurdle betting.

Between 2017 and 2018 Buveur D’air was the last horse to successfully defend his crown. Prior to that, you must go back to Hardy Eustace (2004-2005).

Horses to be placed and come back to win the following season include Punjabi (2009), Binocular (2010) and Hurricane Fly (2012).

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle have also produced plenty of future winners. Istabraq (1997) and Faugheen (2014) were among those to win the Ballymore before going on to win Champion while Hors La Loi III (1999) and Brave Inca (2004) won after success in the Supreme.

Winners of the Triumph Hurdle rarely go on to win, the last to do so being Katchit in 2008.

The Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park has proved to be the best trial in recent seasons. Faugheen (2014), Buveur d’Air (2017) and Epatante (2019) all advertised their Cheltenham claims with victory in that race.

Other significant trials include The International Hurdle at Cheltenham, Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock and the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

Champion Hurdle Betting Trends

Favourites have a good record in recent years, winning six of the ten renewals between 2010 and 2020.

Hurricane Fly was a successful favourite in 2011 but was beaten at odds-on when third to Rock On Ruby the following year. He reversed those places when starting 13-8 favourite in 2013.

Faugheen (4-5) and Annie Power (5-2) were also well-backed favourites for Willie Mullins when scoring in 2015 and 2016.

Nicky Henderson’s Buveur DAir won as the 5-1 second favourite in 2017 and followed up at odds-on in 2018. His hat-trick bid ended with a crashing fall at the third flight in 2019 but the JP McManus colours continued their domination with 16-1 Espoir D’Allen.

That was the longest priced winner of the race since Punjabi won at 22-1 in 2009.

Beech Road was the biggest priced winner in modern times, springing a 50-1 shock in 1989. For Auction at 40-1 (1982) and Hardy Eustace at 33-1 (2004) were other notable outsiders to win this race.

Epatante (2-1 favourite) provided JP with his ninth suucess in 2020.

Champion Hurdle Stats

  • Horses aged 6 to 8 have the best record in this Grade 1 race.
  • Sea Pigeon became the oldest winner in the race for 30 years when scoring at the age of eleven in 1981.
  • Five-year-olds have a poor record with only Katchit (2008) and Espoir D’Allen (2019) winning from that age group since 1985.
  • Most Champion Hurdlers had either won or been placed in their last race before Cheltenham.
  • Many of them had recorded at least one graded victory and raced within seven weeks of the Festival meeting.
  • French-bred horses have won the last four renewals with Buveur DAir (2017, 2018), Espoir D’Allen (2019) and Epatante (2020).

Top Trainers and Jockeys of the Champion Hurdle

Nicky Henderson is the most successful trainer in the history of the race with eight winners. Three of those came with the brilliant but fragile See You Then (1985-1987). His last three winners raced in the colours of JP McManus who has now won the race a record nine times.

Willie Mullins has trained the winner on this prestigious Grade 1 on four occasions; Hurricane Fly (2011 and 2013), Faugheen (2015) and AnniePower (2016). All four started well-backed favourites.

The recently-retired Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty enjoyed four victories apiece, equalling the record set by Tim Molony. He rode four consecutive winners of the race with Hatton’s Grace (1951) and Sir Ken (1952-1954).

Nicky Henderson Champion Hurdle Trainer

Champion Hurdle Betting Sites

The Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle is one of the biggest Grade 1 ante-post betting races of the National Hunt season.

Betting on the race for the following year opens as soon as they pass the post. The race usually features a clash between established contenders and rising stars from last season’s novice ranks.

Bookmakers have started offering “non-runner – no bet” on the race during the run-up to the Cheltenham Festival in recent years.

If you are looking to bet on the Champion Hurdle online we recommend the following great deals for UK customers:

  • 888 Cheltenham Offer

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    BET £10 GET £30

    New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F – A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market – Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) – Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days – Free bet stakes not included in returns – Deposit method and withdrawal restrictions apply.

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    BET £10 GET £60 IN BONUSES

    New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required.

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Popular Questions

Who won the 2020 Champion Hurdle?

The 2020 Champion Hurdle was won by the mare Epatante trained by the brilliant N.Henderson and ridden by B.Geraghty.

What day is the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham?

The Champion Hurdle is on the opening day of the Festival which is the Tuesday.

Who won the 2021 Champion Hurdle?

The 2021 Champion Hurdle was won by the mare Honeysuckle trained by the brilliant Henry De Bromhead and ridden by Rachel Blackmore.

Summary of the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle

A superb race and one of the highlights of the entire year, The Grade 1 Champion Hurdle ran over 2 miles on Cheltenham Old Course is always a superb race (currently the Unibet Champion Hurdle).

To win the race requires takes speed, accurate jumping, class and guts. It has been won over the years by many greats and personal favourites include Alderbrook, Dawn Run and Istabaaq.

As a horse racing spectacle, it is difficult to beat.

Jockeys who have enjoyed notable success over the years include Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh, whilst as trainers, Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins are named to watch.

The 2022 Champion Hurdle promises to be brilliant, can the Henry de Bromhead trained Honeysuckle, ridden by the superb Rachel Blackmore triumph again and win a second Champion Hurdle? Time will tell. 

A race to enjoy and saviour with or without a bet.

Other Cheltenham Related Articles

If you have enjoyed this Unbit Champion Hurdle page, here are some other articles related to Cheltenham you may also like:

As the Founder of British Racecourses, I have a life-long passion for horse racing and have loved the sport as long as I can remember. I am also a keen racehorse owner and have worked in the gambling industry for several years. I set up British Racecourses with the desire to share my passion for racing with other like-minded people.