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Cheltenham Festival Tips : Champion Hurdle Preview
UK Horse Racing

Cheltenham Festival Tips : Champion Hurdle Preview

The Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham Festival (Tuesday 5.30) was first staged in 1927, and is run over 2-miles and ½ furlong on Cheltenham’s Old Course.

Ireland have fared best in recent renewals having trained 9 of the last 13 winners, with Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh teaming-up for 4 wins in the last 6 years. Meanwhile, horses aged 6 and 7 have won 7 of the last 10 renewals, whilst SPs have varied greatly in the last decade from 4/5 to 22/1.

12 Horses are set to go to post for the 2017 Champion Hurdle:

Brain Power

Convincing winner of two major handicaps off marks of 142 and 149, and the way he travelled through those races suggests he should be able to take the step-up to graded company in his stride. Nicky Henderson has also suggested he’ll be the better of his two horses if the ground rides on the good side.

Buveur D’Air

Only third in last year’s Supreme Novice Hurdle, but the two who finished in front of him there would both probably have been favourite if lining-up here. He also finished in front of Petit Mouchoir in that race, and again at Aintree the following month.


Finished behind Yanworth on his last two runs and, though he closed the gap on the second occasion, he was getting 4lb there which he doesn’t here. Hopes of improvement rest on a tongue-tie.

Cyrius Darius

Returned to form last time at Kelso, and could still have plenty of improvement to come. However, on the balance of form, he shouldn’t be winning – though trainer Malcolm Jefferson rarely tilts at Windmills.


His third in last year’s Triumph leaves him with plenty to find, and he was possibly flattered to finish as close as he did to Petit Mouchoir in the Irish Champion Hurdle. Mullins and Walsh team-up, but would probably need a suicide gallop to get home in front.

Moon Racer

The least exposed horse in the field, despite being an 8-year-old, and accounted for Yanworth when winning the 2015 Cheltenham Bumper, 1 of 3 course wins.

My Tent Or Yours

Twice finished runner-up in previous Champion Hurdles, but has looked below that form in his runs this season, and it’s asking a lot of the 10-year-old to win this. Also looks the JP McManus third-string on jockey bookings.

Petit Mouchoir

Owes his place in the market to apparently having improved to win his last two races. Not sure he had much to beat there though, and finished behind Buveur D’Air both times they’ve met.

Sceau Royal

Course and distance winner who ran okay in third behind stablemate Yanworth last time, and looks sure to be suited by a return to better ground. Only 5 though, and may get outstayed in the closing stages after travelling well for a long way.

Wicklow Brave

The 2015 County Hurdle winner doesn’t have the hurdles form in the book to win this, but he ran some cracking races last season in group Races on the flat. Ruby Walsh may be on the other Mullins runner, but he seemed to go best for Paul Townend when winning the County Hurdle.


Worthy favourite after finishing second to Yorkhill in last year’s Neptune Hurdle, and is unbeaten over hurdles before and since despite running on tracks that didn’t appear to suit him like Kempton and Wincanton. Many horse have stepped back in trip after running well in the Neptune, and he’s a worthy favourite.

2017 Champion Hurdle Summary

Yanworth looks a solid option and, though he was thought to want further initially by trainer Alan King, he has been beating horses over some of the sharpest 2-mile tracks in the country. Cheltenham is expected to suit much better, and he can get the money back in the wallets of punters who got their fingers burned on his last year.

2017 Champion Hurdle Tip

Yanworth – WIN @ 3/1 (Various Bookies)

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