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The_Champion_Hurdle

The_Premier_2_Mile_Hurdle


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The Stan James Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 Hurdle.

The Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious hurdle race in the whole calendar and is run for the best hurdlers and takes place on the opening day of the Cheltenham festival.

First Run in 1927 this is the top class hurdle race that all top class two mile hurdlers are aimed at all season.

There have been many multiple winners and the last triple winner was Istabraq 1998/1999/2000.

More . .

 



The_2016_Race

Immediately following his great win in this race last year the Willie Mullins trained Faugheen was placed right at the head of the betting market where he had been right up until his recent withdrawal from the race.

Such is the depth and strength of the Willie Mullins yard that the top class mare Annie Power was supplemented for the race and immediately leapfrogged the other entries and is favourite for the race. Annie Power is an absolute top class mare with 15 races under rules and 13 fine wins many of them by long distance. She is very good at around 2 miles but can also step up in distance. Although she has won at Cheltenham over 2 miles and half a furlong in her solitary two runs at the Festival she suffered her only two defeats. In 2014 she was second in the world hurdle over 3 miles behind the very smart More of That, and last year when going extremely well and having the race in her command in the mares hurdle over 2 miles 4 furlongs she fell at the last handing over the race to another of the stables runners Glens Melod. Annie Power is an extremely good horse and could probably live with many of these at level weights however today she will gets the 7 pound mares allowance.
She should take some beating today.

Willie also runs Nicholls Canyon in the race and he is unbeaten this season but for his last race where the mighty Faugheen had him in third place behind Artic Fire. A good horse with not many chinks in his form.

His fourth horse in the race Supre Medici is in the same ownership as Annie Power and although he has done nothing wrong he may not be up to this race, that said he is only a six-year-old and is improver.

Identity Thief also falls into the 'young improver'category and has been running well this season. He did come second to Nicholls Canyon at Leopardstown in December, although a good horse I don't really see any reason why he should overcome that form unless the ground was a factor that day as it was very heavy.

A very interesting runner is The New One. He was much the best going horse in 2014 when he was hampered three from home. This virtually took him out of the race and he was only able to finish third. Many good judges thought he would have won that day, and last year despite the good form of Faugheen, a good run was expected out of him unfortunately he ran far too keenly early in the race and seemed to be outpaced coming up the hill. He also seemed to hang during the final stages suggesting he was finished tired. He has done very little wrong this season winning two of his three starts and on the occasion when he was second in the Christmas hurdle at Kempton only Faugheen was in front of him. He is top-class and will be ridden by his regular rider and trainer's son Sam Twiston-Davies. I expect him to travel well today being a little more mature and who knows this could easily be his year.

Nicky Henderson sends four from his stable the first of which is My Tent or Yours. This horse has been off the track for two years due to injury. He recently had what was considered a very good racecourse gallop and has since shortened in the market. He is clearly a top-class horse and was second to Jezki in this race in 2014. A return to that sort of form would give him a chance here and Nicky Henderson rarely sends a fancied horse to the Cheltenham Festival without a chance. My Tent or Yours has never been out of the first three in any of his 14 runs and does win first time out, and therefore goes well when fresh. Not a horse you can be confident about currently but certainly one you couldn't leave out of any reckoning.

Nicky's second runner is the very smart young gelding Peace and Co. A five-year-old he was last year's Triumph hurdle winner, and a good winner at that. That was the culmination of his 4 runs last season and all wins. However this season he has been disappointing when last of six on his first outing and third of four in his most recent. Could be anything but is another that can't be supported with any confidence.

Top Notch is another from Nicky Henderson's yard and the horse is in the same ownership as Peace and Co who he ran second to in last years Triumph hurdle. Top Notch has been running well this season however and his second in the fighting fifth hurdle at Newcastle does not put him too far behind many of the runners here are today.

Hagam is Nicky's fourth runner. In the same ownership as My Tent or Yours. He does not seem quite up to the same class as that horse however he is only five years old and constantly improving. That said however he has not been able to get the better of a few of his opponents today in previous races this season.

Camping Ground is running here today on the back of his fine win over this course and distance back in January where he won by a good distance and had to smart horses in behind in the form of Lil Rockerfeller and last year's world hurdle winner Cole Harden. That was over 2 1/2 miles however and I'm not sure that the 2 miles sure will suit.

Paul Nicholls sends a young horse year by the name of Old Guard. Old Guard fits the profile of a champion hurdle winner in that he was a reasonable flat horse one over 1 mile 2 furlongs for Roger Charlton. When he came to Paul Nicholls stable Paul gave him as one of his 5 to follow for last season in a column that he writes. However after his first run things just didn't seem to go his way and he just never seemed to be right however this season has seen him come to fruition.
He ran in three handicap hurdles at Cheltenham in the October, November and then December meetings winning and improving every single time. His only blot this year was where he was then tried at Kempton's Christmas meeting only 10 days after winning the International hurdle at Cheltenham. Paul is been very open about that running and has said that he shouldn't have run him that day and therefore I believe a line can be put through that run. He is not a slow horse and he is a good jumper and if the ground gets better as will be expected to what we've seen the rest of the season I think this horse is a real live outsider for the race. As I said before he does have the profile for the race and although as Paul Nicholls rightly says his past form may not be champion hurdle class there is little doubt he will come on for his break and I think he is a massive price to at least make the frame.

Two horses make up the rest of the field Sign of Victory And Purple Bay. The form of these horses suggest they will be also-rans and would be surprise winners.

A very interesting race in prospect today with last year's second and third in the field and then the supplemented Annie Power getting 7 pounds from the rest of the field will make this competative. I'm not totally sure that she is most at home at Cheltenham but the allowance could certainly make the difference. With The New One trying again and last year's second and third in the race it should make for a good contest with perhaps all of the horses closer together in form than would have been the case had Faugheen still been in the lineup. If you add to that some of the young pretenders like Old Guard and Peace and Co and then the very interesting return of the smart My Tent or Yours this all adds up to what could be a classic year in the Champion hurdle and I don't really believe that Faugheen's sad absence should take away from the race.


Added Notes - Lil Rockerfella has been supplemented for the race by connections after his fine win in a grade 2 at Fontwell. He has been steadily improving all season and has the speed of a twice winner on the flat, but still has to improve further to be a player here.

Race Conditions: For 4yo+ which are allotted a rating of 130 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including March 8th. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain, Ireland or France may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse's racecourse performances up to and including March 8th would merit a minimum rating of 130. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final Weights 4yo 11st 2lb; 5yo+ 11st 10lb Allowances fillies & mares 7lb



List_of_runners


NUMBER FORM NAME AGE WEIGHT TRAINER JOCKEY RATING


1 14-U15 Camping Ground 6 11-10 Robert Walford Leighton Aspell 160
4 wins and 1 place from his seven hurdle starts on ground ranging from good to soft through to heavy and up to a distance of 1 mile 4 1/2 furlongs

2 36-433 Hargam 5 11-10 Nicky Henderson Mark Walsh 157
2 wins and four places from eight hurdle runs on ground ranging from good through to good to soft and up to a distance of 2 miles and 1 furlong.

3 2-3112 Identity Thief 6 11-10 Henry De Bromhead B.J.Cooper
3 wins and 3 places from seven hurdle races on ground ranging from yielding through to soft and up to a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs.

4 331231 Lil Rockerfella 5 11-10 Neil King Trevor Whelan 157
6 wins and 8 places from 18 races on ground ranging from G/F through to soft and up to a distance of 2 miles and 3 furlongs.

5 11123/ My Tent Or Yours 9 11-10 Nicky Henderson Barry Garaghty 161
6 wins and 4 places from his 10 hurdle starts on ground ranging from good to soft through to soft and up to a distance of 2 miles and half a furlong.

6 1-1113 Nichols Canyon 6 11-10 W P Mullins Paul Townend 161
7 wins and 2 places from his 10 hurdle races on ground ranging from good through to heavy and up to a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs.

NON _RUNNER 3-1114 Old Guard 5 11-10 Paul Nicholls * 157
4 wins and 2 places from his nine hurdle races on ground ranging from good through to soft and up to a distance of 2 miles and 1 furlong

8 111-63 Peace And Co 5 11-10 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 159
4 wins and 1 place from his six hurdle runs on soft ground and up to a distance of 2 miles and 1 furlong.

9 1-4211 Sempre Medici 6 11-10 W P Mullins David Mullins 157
4 wins and 2 places from his nine hurdles starts on ground ranging from soft through to heavy and up to a distance of 2 miles and 2 furlongs

10 442-45 Sign Of A Victory 7 11-10 Nicky Henderson Andrew Tinkler 153
3 wins 2 places from his 10 hurdle starts on ground ranging from good through to soft and up to a distance of 2 miles and half a furlong.

11 15-121 The New One 8 11-10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston Davies 161
13 wins and 5 places from his 19 hurdle starts on ground ranging from good through to heavy and up to a distance of 2 miles and 5 furlongs.

12 2-2251 Top Notch 5 11-10 Nicky Henderson Daryl Jacob 158
6 wins and 3 places from his 10 hurdle starts on ground ranging from soft through to heavy and up to a distance of 2 miles and 2 furlongs

13 1F-11 Annie Power 8 11-3 W P Mullins Ruby Walsh 162
10 wins and 1 place from 12 hurdle starts on ground rabging from good through to heavy and up to a distance of 2 miles 4furlongs.






The_Full_Result


FINISHING POSITION DISTANCE Horse AGE WEIGHT TRAINER JOCKEY RATING
1 - Annie Power (IRE) 5/2F 8 11-3 W P Mullins R Walsh 162
2 4 My Tent Or Yours (IRE) 10/1 9 11-10 h Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 161
3 hd Nichols Canyon 15/2 6 11-10 W P Mullins Paul Townend 161
4 4 The New One (IRE) 7/2 8 11-10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies 161
5 1 Top Notch (FR) 14/1 5 11-10 Nicky Henderson Daryl Jacob 158
6 9 Identity Thief (IRE) 8/1 6 11-10 Henry De Bromhead B J Cooper 159
7 1 Lil Rockerfeller (USA) 20/1 5 11-10 p Neil King Trevor Whelan 157
8 2 Sign Of A Victory (IRE) 66/1 7 11-10 Nicky Henderson Andrew Tinkler 153
9 nk Camping Ground (FR) 16/1 6 11-10 t Robert Walford Leighton Aspell 163
10 28 Hargam (FR) 16/1 5 11-10 Nicky Henderson Mark Walsh 157
PU Sempre Medici (FR) 16/1 6 11-10 t W P Mullins David Mullins 157
PU Peace And Co (FR) 16/1 5 11-10 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 157


TheStoryOfTheRace

To be updated.














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