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Cheltenham Champion Hurdle 2023 Trends

Jessica Lamb for Bookies.com

Jessica Lamb  | 7 mins

Cheltenham Champion Hurdle 2023 Trends

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2023 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle Trends

Need some help finding the winner of the 2023 edition of the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle? Well, look no further because our team of experts at Bookmakers.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 festival’s hurdling showpiece.

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; exception Espoir d'Allen)
  • Had five or more lifetime runs over hurdles
  • Last ran between 26 and 75 days ago
  • Had run at least twice that season (nine were unbeaten that season)

Nine of the last 10 winners:

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

Key Trials from the last 10 years

  • The Christmas Hurdle at Kempton has thrown up three winners in the last 10 years (Epatante, Buveur D'Air, Faugheen). The Nicky Henderson-trained Constitution Hill won this in 2022.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas was used as a springboard for Espoir D'Allen to go on to win the 2019 Champion Hurdle. 2022 winner Darasso did not run. It takes place in late January.
  • 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 in the last 10 years.
  • 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 the last Supreme Novices’ winner to become a Champion Hurdle winner was Brave Inca who completed the final leg of the double in 2006. Antepost favourite Constitution Hill is aiming to buck that significant trend.

Trainer Trends

  • Nicky Henderson is the man to follow in this having won it a record eight times in his career, most recently with star mare Epatante who has finished second and third since. His leading hope this year is Constitution Hill.
  • Willie Mullins has won the race four times and has saddled the runner-up in five of the last four years.
  • Henry De Bromhead, Gavin Cromwell and Jessica Harrington are the other trainers to have won the race in the last 10 years.
  • Irish trainers have saddled 8 of the past 11 winners.

Jockey Trends

  • Top owner J P McManus has won four of the last six editions of this famous race (nine in all) so it goes without saying that his number one rider needs to be kept on side. Aidan Coleman is his current pilot.
  • Paul Townend, who has taken over as stable jockey at Willie Mullins all-powerful yard, will get first choice on that yard’s biggest chance. Townend has yet to win the race but that will likely change soon.
  • Mark Walsh rode his first Champion Hurdle winner in 2019 with Espoir D'Allen, the owner’s supposed second-string.
  • Rachael Blackmore became the first female rider to win the event in its 94-year history when winning on Honeysuckle in 2021, and repeated the feat in 2022.

How did the trends do last year?

Winner <strong>Honeysuckle</strong> very much hit the trends lines in 2022 having won the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle (a key Champion Hurdle pointer) en route. As a mare, despite being the highest rated in the field, she got 7lb from the boys which enhanced her chances significantly.

Unbeaten in 15 races, including nine Grade 1s, she was flawless.

Who Fits The Trends Best In 2023?

Reigning champion <strong>Honeysuckle</strong>'s bid for a third successive Champion Hurdle win hinged on her run in her traditional trial, the Irish Champion Hurdle, and she was beaten for only the second time in her career throwing up doubts about her even travelling to Cheltenham.

<strong>State Man</strong> inflicted that defeat on her, making him now a key trends pick for the Champion Hurdle.

He was already a major player after opening his Grade 1 account at Leopardstown over Christmas and winning the County Hurdle at last year's Cheltenham Festival.

<strong>Constitution Hill</strong> remain the odds-on antepost favourite, but has a very significant trend to overcome in that no Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner has won followed up since Brave Inca in 2006.
He does have plenty of other huge positives, but that has to be a reason to at least look elsewhere.

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2022 Result

Position Name Price Trainer Jockey
1st Honeysuckle 8/11f Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore
2nd Epatante 16/1 Nicky Henderson Aidan Coleman
3rd Zanahiyr 28/1 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy

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.