Scottish Champion Hurdle

James Dooley avatar

Written By:


Horses must be four years old or older to compete in the Grade 2 National Hunt hurdle race known as the Scottish Champion Hurdle in Britain.

The Scottish Champion Hurdle takes place on the 20th of April 2024.

The Scottish Champion Hurdle is a Grade 2 race for four-year-olds and upwards over two miles. It is now run as a limited handicap at Ayr on Scottish Grand National day in April.

There have been two dual winners; Sea Pigeon (1977, 1978) and Birds Nest (1979, 1981). Other notable winners include Comedy of Errors (1975), Granville Again (1992), Alderbrook (1996) and Overturn (2010).

It is a limited handicap race that is slated to happen in April each year.

Scottish Champion Hurdle

Race Overview – Scottish Champion Hurdle

There are nine hurdles to clear during the Scottish Champion Hurdle, which is conducted in Ayr, South Ayrshire, over a distance of around 2 miles (3,219 metres).

Many Scottish Champion Hurdle horses will race in more races throughout the years. Stay updated on the horses and place ante-post bets if you want to wager on them.

Check out our Ayr horse racing betting tips page if you are looking for more racing tips for events at Ayr Racecourse.

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

Scottish Champion Hurdle Previous Winners

Check out the previous winners for this race:

2013Court Minstrel6Adam WedgeEvan Williams
2014Cockney Sparrow5Dean PrattJohn Quinn
2015Cheltenian9Richard JohnsonPhilip Hobbs
2016Ch’Tibello5Harry SkeltonDan Skelton
2017Chesterfield7Daniel SansomSeamus Mullins
2018Midnight Shadow5Danny CookSue Smith
2019Verdana Blue7Connor BraceNicky Henderson
no race 2020 [b]
2021Milkwood7Sam Twiston-DaviesNeil Mulholland
2022Anna Bunina6Sean BowenJohn McConnell
2023Rubaud5Harry CobdenPaul Nicholls

Scottish Champion Hurdle 2023 Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

Famous Scottish Champion Hurdle Winners

The Scottish Champion Hurdle was first run in 1966 when it was won by Blue Venom. He was trained and ridden by Wigtownshire farmer Peter Adams. He and his brother Sandy had purchased the horse for just £250 out of Harry Bell’s stable. He defeated Cheltenham winner Kirriemuir and odds-on favourite Spartan General and beat the track record in the process.

1973 winner Captain Christy also won the Irish Champion Hurdle and would go on to make a name for himself over fences, winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a novice in 1974. His other chase victories include the King George VI Chase in 1974 and 1975.

In 1975 the Scottish Champion Hurdle was won by Comedy of Errors, trained by Fred Rimell. He had won the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle in 1973 and 1975. His other notable victories include three Fighting Fifth Hurdles, two Irish Sweeps Hurdles and a Welsh Champion Hurdle. He won 23 of his 48 career starts and is still regarded as one of the leading hurdlers in history.

Peter Easterby trained the winner of this race for three successive seasons from 1976 to 1978. He won it with Night Nurse, ridden by Paddy Broderick, and twice with Sea Pigeon ridden by Jonjo O’Neill. Sea Pigeon won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 1980 and 1981, becoming the oldest winner of the race at the age of eleven.

The race continued to be won by high class hurdlers but the next Champion hurdler to claim the prize was Granville Again in 1992. He won the Cheltenham race the following year for Martin Pipe and Peter Scudamore. 1996 winner Alderbrook had won the Champion the previous season for Trainer Kim Bailey. He had been a smart performer on the flat, winning the Group 2 Prix Dollar at Longchamp.

2010 winner Overturn did not win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham but he did finish second to Rock On Ruby in 2012. He was a very versatile performer, also winning the Northumberland Plate and the Chester Cup on the flat.

Key Scottish Champion Hurdle Trials

Three of the last eleven winners of this race ran in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham last time out. All three were beaten, as were all three horses to contest the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock on their next racecourse appearance. Only one of the eleven managed to win next time and that was Raya Star who followed up in a valuable handicap at Ascot in November. 2021 winner Milkwood finished runner-up in the Galway Hurdle next time.

Three of the last four favourites have been successful; Verdana Blue (2019), Milkwood (2021) and Rubaud (2023). They returned at 4-1, 3-1 and 7-2 respectively. The previous seven favourites had all been defeated with the longest priced winner being 25-1 Midnight Shadow (2018), trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Danny Cook. Cockney Sparrow (2014) and Chesterfield (2017) both returned at 12-1 and Cheltenian (2015) won at 10-1.

Horses aged five to seven have accounted for all but one of the last eleven winners. The exception was Cheltenian who won at the age of nine. The oldest winner in the history of the race was Bird’s Nest who was eleven when recording his second success here in 1981. He completed a hat-trick of victories for Trainer Bob Turnell and jockey Andy Turnell with stable companion Secret Ballot taking the 1980 renewal.

An official rating of 134 or higher is usually required to win this race. The last eleven were all on or above that figure with Nicky Henderson’s Verdana Blue (2019) the highest on 154. The next highest rated winner was Cockney Sparrow (2014) on 148.

Scottish Champion Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

The leading trainer in the history of the Scottish Champion Hurdle is Martin Pipe who won it four times; Sayparee (1990), Granville Again (1992), Blowing Wind (1998) and Copeland (2004). He surpassed the previous record of three, held by Peter Easterby and Bob Turnell. In more recent times, Paul Nicholls took his tally to three with Rubaud’s 2023 victory. His previous winners were Fadalko (1999) and Sanctuaire (2011).

Four jockeys share the honours as leading rider with three winners; Andy Turnell, Peter Scudamore, Richard Dunwoody and Richard Johnson. The latter won it aboard In Contrast (2003), Noble Request (2006) and Cheltenian (2015).

Betting on the Scottish Champion Hurdle

The Scottish Champion Hurdle has become a lot more competitive since it became a limited handicap. Although it is no longer on the radar for Champion Hurdle winners, it still attracts good quality hurdlers and typically a field of between 8 and 16 runners. It is now established as the highlight of the supporting card on Scottish Grand National day.

Scottish Champion Hurdle Facts

  • The Scottish Champion Hurdle is a Grade 2 National Hunt hurdle race in Britian which is open to horses aged four years or older.
  • The race is run on the second day of the three-day Ayr Gold Cup Festival at Ayr Racecourse over a distance of about 2 miles, and during its running there are nine hurdles to be jumped.
  • The race was first run in 1966.

Summary of the Scottish Champion Hurdle

Thank you for reading our Scottish Champion Hurdle guide.

We hope you found everything you needed in our guide.