Relkeel Hurdle

The Relkeel Hurdle is a Grade 2 race for five-year-olds and upwards over two and a half miles at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day in January.

The race is named after a popular grey who won the International Hurdle at the course in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

The Relkeel Hurdle has been won by Champion Hurdlers Morley Street (1989), Granville Again (1991) and Rock On Ruby (2014). More Of That (2013) went on to win the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival while other notable winners include Lonesome Glory (1992), Lady Rebecca (1998) and Oscar Whisky (2011, 2012).

Find out more about the Relkeel Hurdle:

Relkeel Hurdle

Race Overview – The Relkeel Hurdle

Horses five years old and older may enter the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle, a National Hunt hurdle race. 

There are 10 hurdles to clear during the race, which is run over a distance of approximately 2 miles and 412 furlongs (2 miles 4 furlongs and 56 yards, or 4,074 metres), on the New Course at Cheltenham.

Every year, the race is set for New Year’s Day.

Relkeel Hurdle 2023 Odds

The Relkeel Hurdle 2023 odds are below:

  • The odds for this race have not yet been released.

Relkeel Hurdle Tips

Our Relkeel Hurdle tips are below:

  • 2 points to win for TBC at odds of TBC
  • 1 point each way for TBC at odds of TBC

There are horses from the Relkeel Hurdle that will also run in other races throughout the year so stay updated on them and place ante-post bets.

If you are looking for more racing tips for events taking place at Cheltenham Racecourse then check out our Cheltenham tips page.

Relkeel Hurdle Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
1988Abbreviation5Peter HobbsJosh Gifford
1989Morley Street5Jimmy FrostToby Balding
1990no race 1990 [a]
1991Granville Again5Peter ScudamoreMartin Pipe
1992Lonesome Glory4Blythe MillerBruce F Miller
1993Dance of Words4Warren MarstonHoward Johnson
1994FatackS CurranJacqui Doyle
1995no race 1995 [b]
1996KarshiJamie OsborneHenrietta Knight
1997DaraydanTony McCoyMartin Pipe
1998Lady RebeccaRodney FarrantVenetia Williams
1999Heros FatalTony McCoyMartin Pipe
2000Mister Banjo4Mick FitzgeraldPaul Nicholls
2001See You Sometime [c]6Mick FitzgeraldSeamus Mullins
2002Eternal Spring5Ruby WalshJames Fanshawe
2003Crystal d'Ainay4Robert ThorntonAlan King
2004Lough Derg4Timmy MurphyMartin Pipe
2005Mighty Man5Richard JohnsonHenry Daly
2006Black Jack Ketchum7Tony McCoyJonjo O'Neill
2007Pouvoir4Robert ThorntonAlan King
2008no race 2008 [d]
2009Zaynar4Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2010Karabak7Tony McCoyAlan King
2011Oscar Whisky6Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2012Oscar Whisky7Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2013More of That5Tony McCoyJonjo O'Neill
2014Rock On Ruby9Noel FehilyHarry Fry
2016Camping Ground6Leighton AspellRobert Walford
2017Agrapart6Lizzie KellyNick Williams
2018Wholestone7Daryl JacobNigel Twiston-Davies
2019Midnight Shadow6Danny CookSue Smith
2020Summerville Boy8Jonathan BurkeTom George
2021McFabulous[e]7Harry CobdenPaul Nicholls
2022Stormy Ireland8Danny MullinsWillie Mullins
2023Marie's Rock8Nico de BoinvilleNicky Henderson

Famous Relkeel Hurdle Winners

The race was originally run in 1988 as the Sport of Kings Challenge with victory going to Abbreviation, trained by Josh Gifford and ridden by Peter Hobbs.

Morley Street (1989) and Granville Again (1991) won here and went on to win the Champion Hurdle in 1991 and 1993 respectively.

Morley Street was trained by Toby Balding and his other notable victories include two Breeders’ Cup Steeplechases (1990-1991) and four consecutive wins in the Aintree Hurdle (1990 to 1993).

The 1992 renewal was won by American challenger Lonesome Glory, trained by Bruce Miller and ridden by Blythe Miller. He was a prolific winner in his native America where his successes included the Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase (1993) and three Colonial Cups (1994, 1995, 1997). He was the first American steeplechaser to earn more than $1 million in prize money and was inducted into the US Racing Hall of Fame in 2005.

1998 Relkeel Hurdle winner Lady Rebecca became a real course specialist at Cheltenham for trainer Venetia Williams. The mare won the Cleeve Hurdle for three successive seasons from 1999 to 2001.

Oscar Whisky won this race twice for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty in 2011 and 2012. The gelding also won the Aintree Hurdle in 2011 and 2012 and was a top-class novice chaser. He won the Dipper Novices’ Chase and Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase but sadly suffered a fatal fall at Sandown in December 2014.

More Of That (2013) was the last of five winners in the race for jockey Tony McCoy. He was trained by Jonjo O’Neill and went on to defeat hot favourite Annie Power in the 2014 Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham. Rock On Ruby won the 2012 Champion Hurdle for Harry Fry and Noel Fehily and finished runner-up to Hurricane Fly in 2013. He reverted to hurdles after a brief spell over fences and won the Relkeel Hurdle in 2014.

What Happened In The 2023 Relkeel Hurdle

Key Relkeel Hurdle Trials

Three of the last twelve winners of the Relkeel Hurdle ran in the Ascot Hurdle last time out. Oscar Whisky won both races in 2012. The Stayers’ Hurdle is the main objective at the Cheltenham Festival for winners of the Relkeel Hurdle. Seven of the last twelve winners ran in that race, although only More Of That (2013) was successful.

There have been various routes to the Cheltenham Festival for past winners including the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso, the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock Park.

Four recent Relkeel Hurdle winners ran in the Cleeve Hurdle next time but all were beaten.

Most recent winners had raced within the previous five weeks and previous course form is also a factor.

Six of the last twelve winners had already won at Cheltenham.

Relkeel Hurdle Betting Trends

Horses aged six and seven have the best recent record in the Relkeel Hurdle. This age group account for eight of the last twelve winners.

Rock On Ruby became the oldest winner of the race when successful as a nine-year-old in 2014.

Favourites have a mixed record in this race with four outright market leaders and one joint-favourite winning in the past twelve seasons. Zaynar (2009), Oscar Whisky (2012) and McFabulous (2021) all returned odds-on while Rock On Ruby won as the 5-4 favourite. Wholestone won as 9-4 joint-favourite for Nigel Twiston-Davies and Daryl Jacob in 2018.

There have also been a few shock results in recent years. Agrapart was a surprise 16-1 winner under Lizzie Kelly in 2017. Camping Ground (2016) at 10-1 and Summerville Boy (2020) both returned at 10-1. The field is often small for this race and has not reached double-figures since Karabak defeated eleven rivals in 2010.

An official rating of 150 or higher is usually required to win this race. The highest-rated winner in recent times was Oscar Whisky (167) in 2012.

The lowest-rated recent winners were More Of That (145) and Midnight Shadow (rated 146 in 2019), although both horses showed themselves to be a lot better than their official ratings.

Relkeel Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Martin Pipe is the leading trainer in the history of the Relkeel Hurdle with four winners; Granville Again (1991), Daraydan (1997), Heros Fatal (1999) and Lough Derg (2004).

Nicky Henderson won the Relkeel Hurdle three times in four years with Zaynar (2009) and Oscar Whisky (2011 and 2012) but has not won the race since.

Alan King has won it three times; Crystal d’Ainay (2003), Pouvoir (2007) and Karabak (2010). Jonjo O’Neill is among those with two victories; Black Jack Ketchum (2006) and More of That (2013).

Tony McCoy is the leading rider in the history of the race with five victories. He rode both of Jonjo O’Neill’s winners as well as Daraydan and Heros Fatal for Martin Pipe and Karabak (2010) for Alan King. Barry Geraghty won it three times, all for Nicky Henderson.

Betting on the Relkeel Hurdle

The Relkeel Hurdle is a high-class contest and often provides a live contender for the season’s top-staying events.

Most recent winners have been established among the highest-rated hurdlers although recent trends suggest it is unlikely to reveal a Cheltenham Festival winner. Still one of the highlights of Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day programme.

Facts about the Relkeel Hurdle

  • The Relkeel Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain which is open to horses aged four years or older.
  • It is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 3 miles (4,828 metres), and during its running, there are twelve hurdles to be jumped.

Summary of the Relkeel Hurdle

Thank you for reading our Relkeel Hurdle guide.

Relkeel was one of our favourite horses and was a tremendous hurdler – even more so striking as a grey horse. This race named after him has produced some amazing performances by top-class horses.

It really is a race to enjoy and saviour year after year!

Check out more UK National hunt hurdle races.

Other Popular Horse Races in January

Here are all of January’s horse racing-related posts:


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.