• Unibet Champion Hurdle

    First run in 1927. No horse has ever won without a prep run that season

    Eight winning favourites in the last 12

    All bar two winners this century raced at a previous Festival
    13 of the last 15 had already won a Grade 1
    Six of the last 14 ran in the Kempton Xmas Hurdle. Eight didn't.
    Since 1984 only 6 winners were unplaced in any completed run that season.
    Only two of the last 16 had run more than 12 times over hurdles
    13 of the last 14 won by either Irish trainers or Nicky Henderson.
    All bar four this century won their previous start.
    The last eight winners were all unbeaten that season.
    Mares to win - Honeysuckle x2, Epatante, Annie Power, Flakey Dove, Dawn Run
    Only Flakey Dove of those mares didn't start favourite
    The last 15 had all won at least six NH races.
    N Henderson has trained 8 winners including 5 of the last 14.
    Nico de Boinville has yet to ride the winner.
    No headgear winners in last ten
    This century only one BF last time has won.

    Summary

     

    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt half a furlong. Mares strong recent record. Winner has been placed at least at a previous Festival or hasn't been there before. Aged between 6 and 9 years. Won last time out and over a trip not more than 2m 1f. Has won a Graded race this season, either on the flat or over jumps. Won’t have had last run in a handicap. Has not finished unplaced in any run this season. Was favourite or second favourite on previous run and didn't start bigger than 9/2. Will have a total racing record of at least 10 runs with 6 wins or be unbeaten this season. May not have run more than 12 times over hurdles. Has been out within the last 45 days or ran in G1 at Kempton Xmas. Bula/International double with this race is a collector's piece. Favourites on top recently. Has won a G1 or gone very very close. Not blinkered unless placed in previous Festival G1. Not beaten favourite last time out. Winner needs a seasonal prep run. Horses have come back from novice chase careers to win this. If a big field, look for strong graded form in big fields.

  • Honours Board

    Year |||Form |||Winner||| Age |||Weight||| OR |||SP||| Trainer |||Jockey||| Runners||| Last race (No of days)

    2022 ||| 11||| Honeysuckle ||| 8||| 11-3 ||| 165 ||| 8/11f ||| H de Bromhead (IRE) ||| R Blackmore ||| 10 ||| 1st Leop Irish Champion (37)

    2021||| 11 ||| Honeysuckle ||| 7 ||| 11-3 ||| 161 ||| 11/10F ||| H de Bromhead (IRE) ||| R Blackmore ||| 10 ||| 1st Leop Irish Champion (38)

    2020||| 111||| Epatante |||6 |||11-3 |||159 |||2/1F |||N Henderson |||B Geraghty |||17||| Ist G1 Kempton Xmas Hdle (75)

    2019 |||111||| Espoir d'Allen||| 5||| 11-10 |||162||| 16/1 |||G Cromwell(IRE)||| M Walsh||| 10 |||1st G3 Naas (44)

    2018||| 111||| Buveur d'Air||| 7||| 11-10||| 169 |||4/6F |||N Henderson||| B Geraghty |||11 |||1st Listed Sandown (38)

    2017 |||111||| Buveur d'Air||| 6 |||11-10||| 157||| 5/1 ||| N Henderson||| N Fehily |||11||| 1st Listed Sandown (38)

    2016 |||11||| Annie Power||| 8||| 11-3||| 162||| 5/2F |||W Mullins(IRE) |||R Walsh||| 12 |||1st 12k Pnchstwn Mares 2m 4f (27)

    2015 |||111||| Faugheen||| 7||| 11-10||| 169||| 4/5F||| W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh |||8||| 1st G1 Kempton Xmas Hdle (74)

    2014 |||1124||| Jezki |||6 |||11-10||| 165||| 9/1 |||J Harrington(IRE) |||B Geraghty||| 9 |||4th G1 Leop Irish Champion (44)

    2013||| 111 |||Hurricane Fly |||9||| 11-10||| 172 |||13/8F||| W Mulllins(IRE) |||R Walsh |||9||| 1st G1 Irish Champion Hdle (44)

  • Evidence

     

     
    AGE - My Tent Or Yours as a 9 yr old in 2016 finished 2nd behind Annie Power having not been seen since finishing 3rd at evens to Cockney Sparrow in The Scottish Champion Hurdle the year before. Royal Gait, still a novice won after three runs in 1992. Alderbrook 1995 won the Kingwell on his second run as a hurdler before success here.
     
    Cyborgo, Stayers '96, the last horse to win a Festival G1 having not run since the previous Festival. WPM tried it with M Pipe used to do things differently, too. Young Spartacus, 2003 Plate, trained by Henry Daly, was the last handicapper to win without a prep run that season.
     
    Four wins by mares in the last seven. Six mares have now won this in 90 years, Honeysuckle (twice) joins Epatante and Annie Power to be the first since Flakey Dove '94, Dawn Run '84. Epatante was the first mare to run since Annie Power. All three winners were favourites at 8/11, 11/10, 2/1 and 5/2 respectively. Annie Power first mare favourite since Dawn Run at Evens in 1984. 4 from 8 this century. 20 mares have run in Champion Hurdles between 1994 and 2022, only five with an SP under 10/1. Epatante placed in the last two. Only Bilboa 14/1 2002 got placed as a five yr old. If my memory serves me correctly, she was only placed because of tragedy befalling Valiramix.

     

    AGE - 5 yr olds

     

    2022 - Two contenders, Zanahiyr 3rd, Adagio 8th.

     

    2021 - Two ran, Aspire Tower a very respectable 4th at 33s, Goshen 8th at 11/2.

     

    2020 - Three ran, Pentland Hills, Fusil Raffles, Coeur Sublime. Out with the washing.

     

    2019 - The race seemed to fall into a hole with the three big contenders underperforming. Nothing, however, should be taken away from the performance of the ill fated Espoir D'Allen who bolted up by 15l at 16/1 under a fine patient ride by Mark Walsh. Tom Segal Antepost 25s. Remember looking at Betfair win book just before the off, Espoir was 25s and even after being present at Naas for his previous win, I thought naw, he can't... Only 5 yr old in the field.

     

    FIVE YR OLDS - 2018, Charlie Parcs, pointless front runner PU. 2017, Footpad 4th, Sceau Royal 6th, 2016 4 ran best Top Notch in 5th. 2015 two outsiders outclassed, 2014 Our Conor 5s tragically fell, Petit Zig 6th at 28s. 2013 Countrywide Flame 3rd (16s) Balder Success (UR). Before Katchit, only Persian War, Night Nurse and See You Then won as 5 yr olds.

     

    To summarise, all 75 five yr olds since '85 were beaten, until 2008. Before Espoir D'Allen six of the previous 28 to try, have been placed. Apart from Binocular (2nd in Supreme) the other five finished in the first 4 in the previous year's Triumph. Aspire Tower (but not Goshen) unheld the honour of the 2020 Triumph. Had finished 2nd in G1 Matheson after winning the G2 Down Royal in November. Fusil Raffles, Pentland Hills, and Coeur Sublime did little for the 2019 Triumph. Since Detroit City '06, the winner of the Triumph has run 7 times in the following year's Champion Hurdle finishing 1/2/3/5/3/F/Last/9th. Goshen would have won..Vauban, Pied Piper.

     

    Katchit and Persian War '68 only two Triumph winners to win this the following year. See You Then was only second in the Triumph '84.
    Espoir D'Allen, through injury, didn't make the Triumph in 2018. The 2007 Triumph with Katchit winning by 9l and Punjabi in 4th is the only one that has ever featured two Champion Hurdle winners. Thank you, @barrydillon79. A cracking stat.

     

    Last year's Triumph form - Vauban impressed at Christmas behind State Man, Pied Piper, well behind, after successes in weal races at Cheltenham and Down Royal. Fil Dor in the mix for the top two mile novice chases. Nothing else would appear to count. Il Etait Temps a County hurdle contender? The 2021 renewal read better with Adagio (Greatwood), Zanahyir and even Tritonic.. Apples Jade, Footpad, Lets Dance, Sceau Royal, Who Dares Wins, Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon came from the 2016 vintage.

     

    Limestone Lad Hurdle Naas late January - Was a guest that day of the racecourse when Espoir D'Allen (the Pricewise Special) won it from Wicklow Brave, both now RIP. And no, backed neither at the Festival a few weeks later.

     

    Penhill, Faugheen, Katchit in 2008, Istabraq and Hardy Eustace are the only winners of Festival novice hurdles since 1984 to have returned to Cheltenham and won any hurdle race the following year. Constitution Hill, Sir Gerhard, The Nice Guy.

      

    Since 1992, 8 novices competed in this. None of them were five year olds. Ex Flat runners Royal Gait, Alderbrook and Make A Stand won, Rhinestone Cowboy was 3rd, Ashley Park and Self Defense 4th. (None ran in last 14 yrs though Darvers Star 2020 was close to being a novice).

    OLDER HORSES - Hurricane Fly was the first since Rooster Booster winner ‘03 to win at aged 9 yrs. Faugheen unplaced 2018 as a 10 yr old. One before that Royal Gait in 1992. This century, four eight year olds and two nine years old have won. Three of the six were returning to win it again. Only 4 winners older than 8 since 1951. To summarise, since 2003 all bar the Fly 2013 aged between 6 and 8 years.

    Sea Pigeon '81, last 11 yr old to win Champion Hurdle. One before that was Hatton's Grace '51. Both also won it as 10yr olds. Not So Sleepy 5th as a 9 yr old and 6th last year as a ten yr old. Three elder statesmen ran in 2020, closest was Petit Mouchoir, 5th. Those 10 yrs of age or older are 0-30 during the past 40 yrs.

     

    REGAINING CROWN - Hurricane Fly 2013 and Comedy Of Errors in 1975 only ones to regain. The Fly won 22 Grade 1s, three in his final season beating the current champion on each occasion. Up with the greatest 2-mile hurdlers there have ever been.

     

    LAST YEARS RACE? - From Matt Tombs. Placed horses from previous years Ch Hurdle are 5 from the last 18 to run. Since 1990 (and unlike the Gold Cup), 8 winners of this had been beaten in the previous year's renewal. Sharjah placed two years in a row, as has been Epatante.


    TRAINERS - Irish - 15 winners from the last 24 and eight of the last eleven. Fighting with the Supreme to be the best performing race in the Festival for those from across the Irish Sea. Epatante, Buveur D'Air (twice), Rock On Ruby, Punjabi, Binocular, Katchit, Hors La Loi and Rooster Booster since ’97 have won for the home team. Before Hurricane Fly nothing Irish placed in years '08 - '10. Honeysuckle, State Man, Vauban et al.
     
    Irish Champion Hurdle - Honeysuckle 2021, 2022, Brave Inca 2006, Hurricane Fly 2013 and 2011 the latest to do the double. Istabaq and Theatreworld. Zanahyir 2nd in February, 3rd in March, Sharjah 3rd in February, 2nd in March 2nd. Placed horses in 2020 came from the Irish Champion. Four mares have won the Irish Champion Hurdle, Honeysuckle x2 and Dawn Run have done the double. Honeysuckle took the Mares option in 2021. Honeysuckle the first mare to win the Irish Champion Hurdle three times.
     
    Leopardstown 2017 Petit Mouchoir beat Footpad in 3mins 41 secs, best course time of the day, finished third and fourth at Cheltenham. 2020 Honeysuckle 3 mins 49, 2021 in 4 mins 1, 2022 4 04 the first two the best hurdle times of the day. 2022 Sir Gerhard was faster.
     
    Darver Star 20/1 second to Honeysuckle at Leopardstown 2020 rekindled an old stat of novices? running well in the Irish Champion Hurdle. Those like Finnegans Hollow, His Song (One and a half lengths second to Istabraq '98) didn't tend to totally reproduce it next time. But Darver was 3rd at Cheltenham. None in 2022
     
    GERRY FIELDEN hurdle at Newbury won by Epatante off a 137 rating. Rock On Ruby won the Champion Hurdle the year after winning at Newbury. Large Action did the double in 1994 having already finished third in a Ch Hurdle in '93. In those days the Gerry Fielden was a race of note. Used to be a G2 and not a limited handicap. First Street
     
    HATTONS GRACE - This century 30 horses that ran in the Fairyhouse 2m 4f G1 moved up in distance to have a crack at the Stayers. No winners. Eight had won at Fairyhouse and 10 of them started at single figure odds in March. None last year. 2021 Beacon Edge 11/2 third at Fairyhouse, 10s 4th in the Stayers, losing two places on the run in. Against that, since 2010 only six went down in trip to have a go at the Champion Hurdle. Honeysuckle did it twice, Apples Jade disappointed, Hurricane Fly and Jezki did the double, Mick Jazz, 5th at Fairyhouse, finished 3rd at 25s at Cheltenham. Honeysuckle
     
    JOCKEYS - Reference Mr PW Mullins two fine rides in second on Sharjah 2020 and 2021, no amateur jockey has won this since Mr Colm Magnier of For Auction in 1982. To be fair, I'm not sure Colm had similar experience of riding in so many G1s or Festival races as Patrick. Top jockeys in this would be Barry, Ruby and Tim Moloney all on four wins. Barry the only jockey to win on 4 different horses, Punjabi, Jezki, Buveur D'Air and Epatante. Ruby won on The Fly twice, Faugheen and Annie Power. Tim's were on Hatton's Grace and all three of Sir Ken's. With Nicky's recent wins, I was surprised to realise that Nico has yet to win this.


    M/D Pipe - two winners and two thirds from their 8 runners that started under 16/1 (‘08 Osana 2nd at 9/2). Nothing good enough to compete for at least a decade. Moon Racer 10/1 PU 2017. No Northern trained winner for 35 plus years.

     

    N Henderson leads Peter Easterby eight wins to five. Epatante, Constitution Hill. The last ten winners were trained either by Nicky Henderson or Irish trainers.

    2022 Champion Hurdle - Rachel again by 3.5l. 2021 blew them away. Top official rated beat next two top rated, You would be surprised if any of those behind would ever count again in this race. In the last 23, 11 winners ran in the previous year's race. No winner was unplaced in previous year's race since Fakey Dove 1994 (hard to believe, but that mare ran 11 times flat and hurdles between Champion Hurdles).


    BETFAIR HURDLE/TOTE GOLD TROPHY - Make A Stand 1997 only winner in the last 40-plus yrs to have its last race before Cheltenham in a handicap. Make A Stand joined Persian War '68 as the only winners of both in the same season. Persian War then won the second of his three Ch Hurdles in '69. Last year Glory and Fortune came here after winning at Newbury and finished a very respectable 5th at 150/1. Previous one to him was Zarkardar in 2012 who went on to finish 5th at 9/1 to Rock on Ruby at Cheltenham. Last Betfair/Tote Gold Trophy winner to run in this 13 months later was '03 Copeland 25/1 allegedly 'every chance when fell 3 out' in Rooster's year. I must have been watching a different race. In '94 Flakey Dove finished 3rd at Newbury then won here.  

     

    INTERNATIONAL/BULA HURDLE - 0 from 13 since Rooster Booster ’03 first Bula/Champion Hurdle double since Comedy Of Errors ’74. Since 1987, 19 winners of the 'Bula' have attempted the double. Apart from Rooster, Valiramix probably was going to win here before the tragedy happened. Four have finished second (including three of the last eight), one was third, one fell and the rest were unplaced (I'm including The New One 3rd in 2014, unlucky hampered by the tragic fall of Our Conor). Rooster is the only one of the 18 who had won at the Festival in the previous year. 2018 Melon finished third in the International before chasing Buveur D'Air home in March. Frozen off 2022.
     

    Rooster Booster off 144 only horse to do County Hurdle then Champion Hurdle (2003). Rooster came here on the back of 4 wins including Bula. Arctic Fire was beaten in the County off 141 then finished second to Faugheen. Belfast Banter has actually won a novice G1 since taking the County off 129. State Man.

     

    Buveur D'Air liked to stroll around the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown. Race no longer in the calendar to Mr Henderson's annoyance.

     

    Hardy Eustace 2005 last winner to come from success in the Red Mills Hurdle. 2020 Cilaos Emery, supplemented for £22k, got their money back in fourth. 2021 Jason The Militant went to Aintree. U. 2022 Teahupoo well punted here down to 9/1. finished last.

     

    SUPREME NOVICES - The chestnut. Bula 1971 the last horse to complete the double. And in consecutive years. Browne's Gazette '85 should at 8/13... It's ok, its over.. Since '84, only 10 have tried and only the Gazette, Like A Butterfly and Go Native (all unplaced) came to the Champion Hurdle on the back of a G1 success. . However, both Buveur D'Air 2017 and Jezki 2014 were beaten in the Supreme the year before winning this. 2010 Binocular two years later. 2021 Appreciate It unpl. 2020 Shiskin off to the Arkle. Abacadabras 2nd to Shiskin, 10/1, fell at the third. The 2019 version was not, a classic Klassical Dream inj. 2018 nine finished in a heap in a bog. The best in that field would have been Sharjah who to his credit won a Galway Hurdle off top weight, a G1 Morgiana, four G1 Leopardstown Mathesons and finished runner up twice here. Compare 2016. Altior, Min, Buveur D'Air 3rd. First 11 home have all won decent races. The ambulance was placed since. Very much a rival to the vintage of 2013, Champagne Fever, Jezki etc. My Tent Or Yours 2nd in both races in consecutive years. Form of Supreme winner the next year back to 1990 (7P5005302F8). Looks like the stat is going to die in 2023? - Constitution Hill

     

    NEPTUNE NOVICE HURDLE - Nothing coming from Sir Gerhard's win. Not Bob Olinger's nor City Island beating Champ. In 2014 Faugheen won the Neptune by 4 1/2 lengths. Only CH winner from this route since Hardy Eustace '04 and Istabraq '98. Danoli, French Holly, Peddlers Cross and The New One all placed in the Champion the year after winning Neptune. Rock On Ruby won the 2 mile championship the year after his sh hd defeat in the Neptune. It is said that the Neptune is a better guide than the Supreme to Champion Hurdle contenders however Yanworth 2nd to Yorkhill in 2016 is the last horse who ran in a Neptune to come anyway near in this race (fav and 7th). Nichols Canyon was 3rd in each.

     

    Only 2 of the last 24 had not run at the previous year's Festival.

     

    Times - Honeysuckle's 3 50 last year was five seconds slower than Constitution Hill 90 minutes earlier and she carries four lbs less. 2021 3 53 was three seconds faster than Appreciate It. 2020 Epatante's 4 07, showed how heavy it actually was. It was the second slowest time this century, after Katchit's 4 mins 8 , but still one second faster than Shishkin an hour earlier. 2019 - Espoir's 3 mins 59 was pretty good for tacky ground. Similar time to Klassical Dream's Supreme. 2018 - Buveur's 4 mins 5 was on heavy going. In the fastest Champion Hurdle time of the last decade or so, 3 mins 45.1 secs, Annie Power 2016 went round one second faster than Altior had done an hour earlier in the Supreme. In contrast Buveur D'Air's first Champion Hurdle at 3.50 was 5 seconds slower than that of Annie Power but three seconds faster than Labaik's Supreme. In 2015 3 mins 47secs in goodish ground, Douvan's 2015 Supreme was 3 secs faster than Faugheen 2 hrs later in the Champion Hurdle. In 2014 Champagne Fever timed in 3 mins 46 secs in goodish ground, one second slower than Jezki. Novices carry 3lb less than the geldings.

     

    Fastest times this season -

    State Man Matheson Hurdle Leop 3 56 soft

    Constitution Hill 3 46 Fighting Fifth G to S. 3 52 Kempton Soft.

    Bula - Frozen off

    Limestone Lad Hurdle Naas

    Irish Champion Hurdle

     

    Only Hardy Eustace and Granville Again have won a Champion Hurdle after losing their last three starts. Epatante, Bob Olinger
     
    2020's 17 runners, the only one in 13 to have more than 12 runners. Punjabi beat 22 others in 2009. In 2009 the 1-2-3 Punjabi, Celestial Halo and Binocular had strong form in big graded fields. Last year Honeysuckle had won all her 14 races. Has beaten a Fairyhouse G1 field of 15 mares.

     

    Epatante, Buveur D'Air and Faugheen have joined Kribensis ’90 of the last 28 Kempton Xmas Hurdle winners to come to complete the Champion double. The biggest field Constitution Hill has recently faced was the nine in last years Supreme. Will be surprised if there is more than that in this year's Champion.

    Up to the introduction of the WBX Million Bonus in '08 it was true to say that anything involved in the Fighting Fifth/Kempton Hurdles had little chance here. Even though the bonus no longer exists the Fighting Fifth now does tend to attract a stronger lineup. Buveur D'Air cantered home 2017 and 2018, in 2018 when only second favourite to Samcro. In 11 of the last 14 years something which featured at Newcastle was placed at least in the Champion. 4 winners, 5 seconds and two thirds. 2015 Arctic Fire 3rd at Newcastle, 2nd here. My Tent or Yours 2nd 2014, Countrywide Flame 3rd 2013, Overturn 2nd 2012, Peddlers Cross 2nd all after winning the Fighting Fifth. Buveur D'Air and Punjabi only ones to do the double. Binocular and Katchit both won Champion Hurdles after being beaten at Newcastle. 2020 Epatante outclassed Sceau Royal. 2021 Epatante dead heated with Not So Sleepy. This season Constitution Hill took it in after the ground at Ascot wasn't suitable.

     

    None of the last 21 started at bigger than 9/2 last time.

     

    Buveur D'Air, Beech Road 1989 and Morley Road 1991 gave up novice chase careers that season to return to hurdles and win this. All three won trial hurdles between novice chase career and Champion Hurdle. Cilaos Emery, 4th, gave it a fair stab in 2020.


    All bar Epatante, Faugheen and Rock On Ruby of the last 26 winners seen out since the Saturday before AIG Irish Champion Hurdle (26th January - 44 days). All bar those three of the last 26 and 31 from last 36 winners ran since Jan 1. Those three are the first since Granville Again to come straight from the Christmas Hurdle. Constitution Hill. In 2014 N Henderson brought out My Tent Or Yours to win a February jumpers bumper at Kempton to 'try and get the freshness off him'. In 2016 after 703 days away Tent ran second to Annie Power. Impressive stuff from NH.
     

    Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton has a reasonable record if not recently. Kribensis '90, Alderbrook '95 won both and Punjabi was third in '09 before Cheltenham. Of the last 16 winners of the Kingwell, 12 went onto the Champion Hurdle. Hors la Loi '02 and Katchit both won, 3 others were placed. Yanworth unpl 2017. Elgin finished 5th in the 2018 Champion. Last year Quel Destin tried his luck at Fontwell instead. No Kingwell runner up in the last 19 years has gone on to win at Cheltenham that year. 2021 Goshen won by 22 lengths at Fontwell, disappointed here. Last year he didn't come to Cheltenham.


    COURSE FORM - 23 of the last 32 were previous course winners. Honeysuckle won the Mares in 2020. Not Epatante, a short priced failure in the 2019 Mares Novice. Not Buveur D'Air (obviously first time) nor Jezki (both 3rd in Supreme), Rock On Ruby (2nd in Neptune), not Binocular (had been 2nd in Supreme Novice and Ch Hurdle), Punjabi (had been 3rd in '08 Champion), Sublimity (4th in a Supreme Novice), Make A Stand (had been beaten in a h'cap). Espoir D'Allen, Royal Gait and Alderbrook had never been here before. The latter two were both Group 2 Flat winners. Hurricane Fly also not been here before his first win. Came here on the back of beating Solwhit in 4 successive G1s.

     

    No Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner has ever been placed in a Champion Hurdle.
      
    20 of the last 24 were placed at a previous Festival. 14 from the last 24 were previous Festival winners. (Honeysuckle, Buveur D'Air, Faugheen, Fly, Istabraq three times, Hardy Eustace twice, Rooster Booster, Brave Inca, Hors La Loi and Katchit. Not Annie Power although she would have gone close in the 2015 Mares).

    33 of last 39 won on most recent start, including all bar Jezki and Rock On Ruby of the last thirteen. Exceptions being Celtic Shot ’88, 2nd in an Agfa Hurdle, Granville Again ’93, 3rd in a Christmas Hurdle, Hardy Eustace ‘04 2nd in a Red Mills, Punjabi 3rd in a Kingwell, Rock On Ruby 2nd in Xmas Hurdle, Jezki last in the 2014 AIG. All the wins last time were over 2m or 2m1f.

    31 from last 34 were favourite or second favourite last time out.

     

    All bar Espoir D'Allen, Rock On Ruby and Sublimity of the past 17 had already won a Grade 1. Espoir D'Allen only a G3 winner, Rock On Ruby short head 2nd in a Neptune. Rooster Booster came here from winning the Bula G2, Make A Stand from the G3 Tote Gold Trophy. 20 from the last 26 had won a Grade I or 2 Hurdle that season. Annie Power won a G1 at the Punchestown Festival. Sublimity broke both these stats but was a listed Flat winner. Buveur D'Air first time round had only won a Contenders Listed Hurdle at Sandown.

     

    A PREP RUN, ANY PREP RUN? - Like Appreciate It (7th), Seneca (1941) was having his first run outside novice company when winning this. It was also just his second run over hurdles. But his first ever run was that season.

    Honeysuckle, Epatante, Espoir D'Allen, Buveur D'Air, Annie Power, Faugheen, Jezki, Rock On Ruby and Hardy Eustace had run less than 18 times (Flat and Jumps combined) but had won at least 6 times (includes Sublimity). Thats's the last nine. Honeysuckle unbeaten over 14 yr 2, unbeaten over 10 yr 1ns, 10 wins, Epatante 8 runs, 6 wins, Espoir D'Allen 9 runs, 8 wins. Buveur D'Air 15 runs, 12 wins. Annie Power was 15 runs, 13 wins, Faugheen was unbeaten over 9 races, Jezki was 14 and 9, Rock On was 10 and 6, Hardy was 15 and 5 in ‘04. Hurricane Fly was 21 and 11 in 2011, Binocular was 18 and 11 in 2010. Against all that, only Honeysuckle and Hurricane Fly (both second time) of the last 16 had run more than 12 times over hurdles. Honeysuckle has run in 17 hurdle races.

    20 from last 25 (not Epatante (5), Buveur D'Air (6), Faugheen (7), Rock On Ruby nor Sublimity) had run between 9 and 25 times over hurdles. Constitution Hill unbeaten over five.

    Since 1984 only 6 winners were unplaced in any completed run that season. (Jezki most recent, Binocular 5th in a Fighting Fifth). Only Jezki, Punjabi and Binocular of last 15 unplaced in any of previous 2 runs (latter two in Kempton Xmas Hurdle, Punjabi fell when challenging). Buveur D'Air second of four at Kempton.
     

    Honeysuckle and Faugheen only winners since at least 1993 started racing career in a 4 yr old Irish p2p. To be fair can't think of any other runners from that route. Epatante from French bumpers.


    HEADGEAR - Blinkered runners in last 16 races - 3 wins (Hardy Eustace, great rides from C O'Dwyer, Jezki never in blinkers but straight to first time hood) and 8 placed from 41. Zanahyir 28s 3rd in first time cheekpieces only qualifier last year. My Tent always wore a hood. Rock On Ruby won without blinkers but wore them for the first time when second to the Fly in 2013. No qualifiers 2021. Four ran in 2020, best Cilaos Emery in 4th. Two qualifiers in 2019, best Melon 2nd in first time blinkers. Mick Jazz 3rd 2018 in a hood.

    Record of previous years winner P11PR213246932441F31 . Hardy Eustace 2005 last before Buveur D'Air to win two in a row. Honeysuckle.

     

    Punjabi in 2009 only winner this century having been beaten favourite last time out. None last year, two in 2021, best Epatante in 3rd. 2020, the three Henderson second-stringers Pentland Hills, Call Me Lord and Fusil Raffles disappointed. Only Silver Streak in 2019, third at a huge 80/1.

    PRICE - 26 of the last 30 winners found in first five in the market. Espoir D'Allen returned 16s was the fourth fav of 10. Not Sublimity, Hardy Eustace ‘04, Punjabi or Binocular. Speaking as a clerk and with smallish fields, you would expect that. Eight favourites have won in the last twelve. Definitely too many, for my liking.

     

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