Christmas Hurdle

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The Christmas Hurdle is a Grade 1 race over two miles at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.

This exciting event isn’t just a showstopper; it’s a key trial for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. Join us as we delve into the significance of the Christmas Hurdle, where the pursuit of racing glory unfolds amidst festive celebrations.

Stay in the know with our guide, featuring the latest insights, betting tips, and insider information. Get set to witness top-notch hurdling prowess at Kempton Park.

Find out more about the Christmas Hurdle:

Race Overview – The Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle at Kempton

Christmas Hurdle

Horses must be four years old or older to compete in the Grade 1 national hunt hurdle race the Christmas Hurdle. It is run at Kempton Park over a course that is roughly 2 miles (3,219 metres) long, and there are eight hurdles to clear along the way.

The Christmas Hurdle is run each year on the 26th of December at the Kempton Park Christmas Festival.

In our Christmas Hurdle guide, we run through all the latest betting odds, tips and history of the Boxing Day iconic hurdle race.

For all Kempton races, our finest racing tipsters give free horse racing tips!

Christmas Hurdle Previous Winners

2013My Tent Or Yours6Tony McCoyNicky Henderson
2014Faugheen6Ruby WalshWillie Mullins
2015Faugheen7Ruby WalshWillie Mullins
2016Yanworth6Barry GeraghtyAlan King
2017Buveur d’Air6Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2018Verdana Blue6Nico de BoinvilleNicky Henderson
2019Epatante5Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2020Silver Streak7Adam WedgeEvan Williams
2021Epatante7Nico de BoinvilleNicky Henderson
2022Constitution Hill5Nico de BoinvilleNicky Henderson

Christmas Hurdle Previous Result

Famous Christmas Hurdle Winners

The Christmas Hurdle was first run in 1969 with victory going to Fred Rimell’s Coral Diver.

The race was lost to the weather in 1970 before Coral Diver added a second victory in 1971.

Fred Winter’s Lanzarote won it in 1973 and 1975, also taking the 1974 Champion Hurdle.

Several of the top hurdlers from the Golden Age of hurdling in the 1970’s won the Christmas Hurdle including Kybo (1978) and Birds Nest (1979).

Celtic Ryde actually finished first in 1979 but was disqualified in favour of Birds Nest. He returned to Kempton to claim the prize the following year.

Kribensis (1988, 1989) became the next dual winner, a rare runner under National Hunt rules for Sheikh Mohammed. Kribensis was trained by Sir Michael Stoute and had won the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle prior to running in the Christmas Hurdle. He went on to win the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton before winning the Champion Hurdle by three lengths under Richard Dunwoody.

Dawn Run was a famous winner of the Christmas Hurdle for Paddy Mullins and Jonjo O’Neill in 1983. The brilliant mare won the Champion Hurdle in 1984 and made racing history when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1986. She remains the only horse to win the two biggest events over hurdles and fences at the Cheltenham Festival.

The pattern of repeat winners continued with Intersky Falcon (2002, 2003), Harchibald (2004, 2008), Binocular (2010, 2011) and Faugheen (2014, 2015).

With fantastic prize money it often attracts a quality field.

Key Christmas Hurdle Trials

The best form guide for the Christmas Hurdle is the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in late November or early December. Five of the last twelve winners of that race ran here, three of them won and one was placed.

The Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton is a possible target for Christmas Hurdle winners before Cheltenham. Binocular (2011) and Yanworth (2016) won both races. Four of the last twelve winners have gone straight to Cheltenham, Faugheen (2014) and Epatante (2019) both won the Champion Hurdle on their next start.

Horses aged five to seven have won every renewal of the Christmas Hurdle since Harchibald won as a nine-year-old in 2008. He equalled the record established by Birds Nest in 1979.

Only three four-year-olds have won the Christmas Hurdle; Coral Diver (1969), Kribensis (1988) and Kerawi (1997).

Favourites have a fine record in this race with seven outright market leaders and one joint-favourite winning in the past twelve seasons.

Remarkably, Harchibald (2008) was the most recent horse to win the Christmas Hurdle from outside of the two market leaders.

Silver Streak was the longest-priced winner during that period at 13-2 but he was second favourite to the long odds-on Epatante.

Ten of the last twelve winners ran within the previous six weeks.

Class usually comes out on top here with seven of those twelve having already won at least once at Grade 1 level.

An official rating of 150 or higher is usually required to win this race. Binocular was rated 171 in 2010 and Buveur D’Air was just 2lbs lower in 2017.

Christmas Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Nicky Henderson has an exceptional record in the Christmas Hurdle with ten winners. The Lambourn Trainer won the race for the first time with Geos in 2000 and followed up with Landing Light in 2001. He then won four successive renewals with Binocular (2010, 2011), Darlan (2012) and My Tent Or Yours (2013).

Henderson’s domination resumed in 2017 with Buveur D’Air before Verdana Blue (2018) and Epatante (2019 and 2021).

Owner JP McManus has nine victories to his credit. Besides those trained by Henderson, he also won with Straw Bear (2007) trained by Nick Gifford and Yanworth (2016) trained by Alan King.

Noel Meade trained the winner four times between 2004 and 2009, twice with Harchibald (2004, 2008) and also with Jazz Messenger (2006) and Go Native (2009).

Willie Mullins won the race in 2014 and 2015 with Faugheen.

Tony McCoy leads the all-time standings in the Christmas Hurdle with five winners; Straw Bear (2007), Binocular (2010, 2011), Darlan (2012) and My Tent Or Yours (2013). He wore the famous green and gold silks of JP McManus on each occasion.

Popular Questions

What are important facts about Christmas Hurdle?

Here are some important facts about Christmas Hurdle:

  • The Christmas Hurdle is run at Kempton Park, Great Britain
  • The Christmas Hurdle is for horses aged 4 and older
  • The Christmas Hurdle is a National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain
  • The Christmas Hurdle distance is about 2 miles
  • The Christmas Hurdle prize money is £130,000

Summary of the Christmas Hurdle

Thank you for reading our Christmas Hurdle guide, it is always one of the top hurdle races of the season.

Although it doesn’t attract a large field, the runners are often top-class with many going out to claim top honours at Cheltenham.

There are more races in December that you might enjoy, so make sure you check them out.

Check out our Kempton tips page if you enjoy watching races at Kempton Racecourse.

Boxing Day Horse Racing Information Articles

Subjects and keywords covered:

  • National hunt racing – top hurdles races