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Champion Hurdle Trends for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 12 mins

Champion Hurdle Trends for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

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2024 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle Trends

Need some help finding the winner of the 2024 edition of the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle? Well, look no further because our team of experts at Bookies.com have done the hard work for you by pinpointing the most critical trends and pointers from the last 10 renewals in order to help you find the winner of the Cheltenham Festival's hurdling showpiece.

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The last 10 winners:

  • Were aged 5-9
  • Had no headgear
  • Had won within the last 3 runs (nine won last time)
  • Had taken part in a Grade 1 contest (nine had won, eight winning two or more; Espoir d'Allen had not contested a Grade 1)
  • Had five or more lifetime runs over hurdles
  • Last ran between 27 and 78 days ago
  • Had run at least twice that season (nine were unbeaten that season; exception Jezki)

Nine of the last 10 winners:

  • Won on their last start (exception Jezki)
  • Had previously run at Cheltenham (Espoir d'Allen)

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Key Trials from the last 10 years

The Christmas Hurdle at Kempton has thrown up four winners in the last 10 years (Epatante, Buveur D'Air, Faugheen and Constitution Hill). The Nicky Henderson-trained Constitution Hill won this in 2022 and again in 2023.

The Irish Champion Hurdle in February has thrown up four winners in the last 10 years (Hurricane Fly, Jezki and Honeysuckle twice). Honeysuckle won this with ease in 2022 and 2021, but was beaten by State Man in 2023, who went on to be second and Cheltenham. He won the 2024 Irish Champion Hurdle too.

The Matheson Hurdle, run at Leopardstown over the festive period, is also a strong Grade 1 hurdle. Sharjah, who went on to finish second in the 2020 and 2021 Champion Hurdles (brought down mid race in 2019), has won it four times, but was beaten by Willie Mullins-trained stablemate State Man in 2022. He won in 2023 too.

The Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas was used as a springboard for Espoir D'Allen to go on to win the 2019 Champion Hurdle. The 2022 and 2023 winners did not run in the Champion Hurdle. It was won in 2024 by Zarak The Brave.

The Haydock Champion Hurdle Trial (Ballyandy) and the Fighting Fifth (dead-heat Epatante and Not So Sleepy) were traditionally Champion Hurdle trials, but neither of these races featured the winner for years until Constitution Hill followed up his Fighting Fifth win last year.

The previous season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle should, in theory, throw up a top class hurdling prospect that could go on to be a champion hurdler, but after Brave Inca did the double in 2006, the feat was not repeated until Constitution Hill last year.

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Trainer Trends

  • Nicky Henderson is the man to follow in this having won it a record ninetimes in his career, most recently with Constitution Hill, who is on track for arepeat.
  • Willie Mullins has won the race four times and has saddled the runner-up infive of the last six renewals with Sharjah, Melon and State Man.
  • Henry De Bromhead, Gavin Cromwell and Jessica Harrington are the othertrainers to have won the race in the last 10 years.
  • Irish trainers have saddled 7 of the past 10 winners.

Jockey Trends

  • Top owner JP McManus has won four of the last seven editions of this famousrace (nine in all) so it goes without saying that his number one rider needs tobe kept on side. Aidan Coleman is his current pilot.
  • Paul Townend, who has taken over as stable jockey at Willie Mullinsall-powerful yard, will get first choice on that yard’s biggest chance. Townendhas yet to win the race but that will likely change soon.
  • Mark Walsh rode his first Champion Hurdle winner in 2019 with EspoirD'Allen, the JP McManus’s supposed second-string.
  • Rachael Blackmore became the first female rider to win the event in its94-year history when winning on Honeysuckle in 2021, and repeated the feat in2022.

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How did the trends do last year?

Winner Constitution Hill had a very significant trend to overcome in that no Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner had followed up since Brave Inca in 2006. He did have plenty of positives though, being unbeaten in his career, including multiple Grade 1 wins, but when it was so tight between him and State Man, the trends pointed to the latter.

He was the Irish Champion Hurdle winner, but Constitution Hill proved in a league of his own, busting a big trend to win by nine lengths. 

Who Fits The Trends Best In 2024?

It’s impossible to look past Constitution Hill, who is now unbeaten in eight runs over hurdles, including seven Grade 1s and last year’s Champion Hurdle. However, the 10 winners all ran at least twice that season before the Festival. He missed his second run due to a poor scope.

State Man, like last year, ticks all the key trends boxes, and Willie Mullins-trained stablemate Zarak The Brave, winner of an emerging trial and the Galway Hurdle, fits a lot of the trends. He is a big price for an each-way bet on betting apps, perhaps.

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2023 Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st Consitution Hill 4/11f Nicky Henderson Nico De Boinville
2nd State Man 7/2 Willie Mullins Paul Townend
3rd Zanahiyr 66/1 Gordon Elliott Davy Russell
 

About the Author

Jessica Lamb is a multi-media journalist who specializes in horse racing, cycling and sports betting and has worked on desks at the Racing Post and Irish Sun newspapers.