Who Will Win the Champion Hurdle?

Cheltenham Festival - Champion Hurdle

Only a little over a month to go until the greatest meeting of the National Hunt season, with the 2023 edition of the mighty Cheltenham Festival now firmly on the horizon. It all kicks off on Tuesday 14th March and runs through to the concluding Gold Cup Day on Friday 17th March.

There's no such thing as a poor race at this meeting, but each of the four days has a standout feature in which the champions of the season are crowned. On the opening Tuesday, the Champion Hurdle takes centre stage, with this year's renewal set to feature the banker of the meeting for many punters.

Is Constitution Hill such a good thing? Here we take a look at the race from a trends perspective using data presented by Newbettingsites.uk, highlighting the runners most likely to make their presence felt on the big day.

Age of Winner

Champion Hurdle - age winners

Two-mile hurdlers tend to peak at between six and seven years of age. With that in mind, it’s not too surprising that just under 60% of all winners fall into that age bracket. Of the 14 runners remaining in this year's race, exactly half are either six or seven years of age, including red hot favourite Constitution Hill and the leading fancy from Ireland, State Man.

Previous Festival Form a Big Plus

One trend that jumps out when looking at the results of this race over the past decade is that eight of the ten winners had run well at a previous Cheltenham Festival.

  • Three had previously won this race.
  • One had won what is now the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
  • One had won the Mares Hurdle
  • One had finished second in the Stayers Hurdle
  • Two had finished third in the Supreme Novices Hurdle

The standout on this trend is the 2021 and 2022 heroine Honeysuckle. She has, however, been beaten in her two most recent starts, is now nine years of age, and may not line up on the day.

In total, the following eight runners tick the solid festival form box:

  • Constitution Hill - Won the 2022 Supreme Novices Hurdle by 22 lengths
  • State Man - Won 2022 County Hurdle
  • Vauban - Won 2022 Triumph Hurdle
  • Epatante - Won this race in 2020, finished 3rd in 2021, and 2nd in 2022.
  • First Street - 2nd in 2022 County Hurdle
  • Love Envoi - Won 2022 Mares Hurdle
  • Sharjah - 2nd in this race in 2020 and 2021
  • Pied Piper - 3rd in 2022 Triumph Hurdle

Of the eight, Constitution Hill, State Man, First Street, and Love Envoi also fall into the 6-7-year-old age bracket.

Henderson Leads the Way Amongst Trainers

Of the eight trainers currently holding an entry in the race, three have previously claimed Champion Hurdle glory. Henry De Bromhead's two wins both came courtesy of Honeysuckle. The dual champion is De Bromhead's sole remaining entry, but reports suggest she is an unlikely runner.

Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins boasts four wins in the race and holds a quartet of entries this time around - with State Man, Vauban, Sharjah, and Echoes In Rain all remaining in the race.

It is, however, eight-time winner, Nicky Henderson, who is the most successful trainer in the history of the race. Flying the flag for team Henderson in 2023 are Epatante, First Street, and Constitution Hill.

Summary: Hard to Look Past Hill

Anyone hoping to find a chink in the armour of Constitution Hill won't find it in the trends. Not only is the Henderson superstar comfortably the best horse in the race according to the official handicapper, but he is also the ideal age for the race, gets a huge tick in the festival form box, and goes for the most successful trainer in the history of the race. There don't appear to be any negatives surrounding his chance, but on the downside, he is priced accordingly at 2/7 with Fitzdares.

State Man from the yard of Willie Mullins would look like the obvious alternative, but his price of 11/4 doesn't offer much in the way of each-way value. It may be the Nicky Henderson second-string Epatante who rates the best option for those looking for a horse to hit the frame at a decent price. At nine years old, she does fall down on the age trend, but boasts form figures of 132 in this race and looked back to something like her best when winning at Doncaster last time out. At 20/1 with Fitsdares, she looks fairly priced to place once again.

Where To Place Your Cheltenham Festival Accumulator

How to Make Money Betting on the Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival’s step by step Introduction for Horse Racing

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