Cheltenham Tuesday 15.30: Emery has emerged as viable threat to Henderson team at 13/2 with Ladbrokes

Silly to ignore Cilaos' claims in Champion Hurdle

Cheltenham Festival

The 15.30 Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy is hurdling’s blue riband but with dual champion Buveur D’Air sidelined with injury and 2019 winner Espoir d’Allen tragically no longer with us, Tuesday’s Championship race looks there for the taking.

It may not be a classic renewal but that won’t concern connections of the winner, who will go down in the history books alongside greats like Sea Pigeon, Lanzarote, Sir Ken and Istabraq.

Unibet Champion Hurdle Recent Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2019 Espoir D’Allen 5 M Walsh G Cromwell
2018 Buveur D’Air 7 N Fehily N Henderson
2017 Buveur D’Air 6 N Fehily N Henderson
2016 Annie Power 8 R Walsh W Mullins
2015 Faugheen 7 R Walsh W Mullins
2014 Jezki 6 B Geraghty J Harrington
2013 Hurricane Fly 9 R Walsh W Mullins
2012 Rock On Ruby 7 N Fehily P Nicholls
2011 Hurricane Fly 7 R Walsh W Mullins
2010 Binocular 6 A McCoy N Henderson
2009 Punjabi 6 B Geraghty N Henderson
2008 Katchit 5 R Thornton A King
2007 Sublimity 7 P Carberry J Carr
2006 Brave Inca 8 A McCoy C Murphy
2005 Hardy Eustace 8 C O’Dwyer D Hughes
2004 Hardy Eustace 7 C O’Dwyer D Hughes
2003 Rooster Booster 9 R Johnson P Hobbs
2002 Hors La Loi III 7 D Gallagher J Fanshawe
2001 NO RACE
2000 Istabraq 8 C Swan A O’Brien
1999 Istabraq 7 C Swan A O’Brien
1998 Istabraq 6 C Swan A O’Brien

Champion Hurdle Trends

  • 92 per cent of the last 13 winners had run more than 12 times over hurdles.
  • 83 per cent of the last 36 winners had won their previous race.
  • Only two five-year-olds have won since 1985 but one of that age group was successful 12 months ago.
  • Only two winners in history have been aged 10 or older.
    Horse Racing Betting at Unibet

Unibet Champion Hurdle Current Best Odds

Epatante 7/2
Pentland Hills 11/2
Cilaos Emery 13/2
Supasundae, Darver Star and Sharjah 12/1
Coeur Sublime and Fusil Raffles 16/1
Ballyandy and Call Me Lord 20/1
Silver Streak and Petit Mouchoir 25/1
Not So Sleepy 28/1
Cornerstone Lad 33/1
Darasso 50/1
Gumball 125/1
Le Patriote 200/1
(Odds correct at 10.30 GMT, March 9)

Epatante looking to join select list

Only four mares in history have won the Champion Hurdle so can the sponsor’s current 7/2 favourite Epatante join that select list?
She beat Ballyandy and last year’s Champion Hurdle third Silver Streak in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton but then reportedly coughed and was put in the easy list.
JP McManus’ six-year-old still has a bit to prove at the very highest level and she started off the current campaign in a handicap. She was also well beaten at The Festival last year and there are surely better-value options in the opening day’s feature race.

Hills’ attitude cause for concern

Pentland Hills proved himself to be the best of last season’s juvenile crop by winning the Triumph Hurdle at The Festival and going on to win a Grade 1 at Aintree.
However, things have hardly gone to plan this season as he stopped very quickly when unplaced behind stablemate Call Me Lord in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham on his comeback and was then out-muscled by Ballyandy at Haydock.
On both occasions, his attitude was called into question but he has had a wind operation since last seen.
Soft going may not be ideal and the record of five-year-olds in this race is poor so he may also be worth opposing at the general 11/2.

Emery carries plenty of confidence

The fact that Willie Mullins has had to pay a supplementary fee to allow CILAOS EMERY to take his chance should be a pointer in itself.
He certainly wouldn’t be the first Champion Hurdle winner to successful revert to hurdles after a stint over fences and he was very impressive in a minor Grade 3 event at Gowran.
He is a Grade 1 winner over hurdles and was unlucky on his only previous run at The Festival when fifth in the 2017 Supreme Novices’. It’s significant that Paul Townend rides him rather than the higher-rated Sharjah and he can be back at 13/2 with Unibet.

Lad has a better chance than odds might suggest

A real mud-lark, Micky Hammond’s prayers have been answered for Cornerstone Lad.
It’s been largely forgotten that he beat Buveur D’Air and Silver Streak in the Fighting Fifth, which has always been a good Champion Hurdle Trial.
The six-year-old was giving weight to both Ballyandy and Pentland Hills when a close third in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock so is still at the top of the game and there are much worse outsiders at shorter odds than the 33/1 on offer from Paddy Power.

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Profit boost must be claimed from “My Offers” page and selected for use in the betslip. Bets placed before opt-in do not qualify for this promotion. Profit boosts for subsequent days will become available to claim by 12:00 noon on the day of the race. Each way and system bets are not eligible.

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In order to qualify the bet must be a maximum stake of £10. For the avoidance of doubt, if you try to place a bet of more than £10, the profit boost will not appear in your betslip and it will not be regarded as a qualifying bet. Cashed out, or partially cashed out, bets do not qualify for this promotion. Non-runners and/or bets made void do not constitute a valid qualifying bet.

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