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Champion Hurdle 2012
Mon, Mar 12th, 2012

Rock on Ruby and Noel Fehily caused an upset and gave trainer Paul Nicholls his first victory in the race. Overturn ( tipped by Choc Thornton in our Cheltenham Festival Contest at 28/1) ran a stormer and held onto to second. The favourite Hurricane Fly couldn't get to the front two. Binocular finished fourth having tracked the favourite throughout the race.

Pos.

Horse

SP

Age

Jockey

Trainer

1

Rock On Ruby (IRE)

11/1

7

N Fehily

P F Nicholls

2

Overturn (IRE)

20/1

8

J M Maguire

D McCain Jnr

3

Hurricane Fly (IRE)

4/6

8

R Walsh

W P Mullins

4

Binocular (FR)

4/1

8

A P McCoy

N J Henderson

5

Zarkandar (IRE)

9/1

5

D A Jacob

P F Nicholls

6

Oscars Well (IRE)

14/1

7

R M Power

Mrs J Harrington

7

Brampour (IRE)

50/1

5

Harry Derham

P F Nicholls

8

Zaidpour (FR)

22/1

6

P Townend

W P Mullins

9

Celestial Halo (IRE)

50/1

8

Harry Skelton

P F Nicholls

10

Kalann (IRE)

150/1

5

M Darcy

Miss S J Harty

and what we said beforehand :  

The Willie Mullin's trained Champion Hurdler Hurricane Fly looked ominously good under Ruby Walsh on his comback at Leopardstown. Can 2010 winner Binocular cause an upset and become only the second horse ever to regain the Champion hurdle crown ? Nicky Henderson said recently he thought Binocular would have won three Champion Hurdles by now. Paul Nicholls will he hoping the five year old Zarkandar can build on his win in the Betfair Hurdle in Newbury and follow up his Triumph Hurdle win in 2011. He has Rock on Ruby in there too. There hasn't been much opposition to Hurricane Fly at the Cheltenham Preview nights. Our forum has collated panelist comments from those evenings on this thread.

We have also had the input of four of the finest National Hunt Jockeys currently riding. Barry Geraghty, Jason Maguire, Richard Johnson and Choc Thornton are taking the Fat Jockey Cheltenham Festival Tips challenge.Three of these tipster jockeys have won this. Richard on Rooster Booster, Choc on Katchit and Barry on Punjabi. Jason went closest last year on Peddlers Cross. We expected Barry to ride Grandouet in the race but that horse misses the race though injury.  We would think Jason will be on Overturn this year (unless the yard have a late change of plan for Peddlers Cross). We dont see an obvious ride for Richard Johnson or Choc Thornton this year.To check if our tipsters had a pick in the in the Champion Hurdle go to their free jockey tips here

About the Stan James Champion Hurdle : The Champion Hurdle is the feature race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival and one of the original "big three" Cheltenham Festival Races. The race is run over eight obstacles on the old course at Cheltenham and over a distance of 2 miles 110 yards. It is steeped in history and winning this race would not only be the pinnacle of the National Hunt season but also of the career for most horses in this class.

Bookmaker Offers :  If you are a new customer the bookies will give you free bets to sign up. Bet365 have up to £200 in free bets on a matched deposit basis. Paddy Power will give up to £200 and Stan James up to £150 in free bets based on an average stake. BetVictor have a free matched £25 for new customers. Click on the links on our side bar to claim your free bet.

Click to see our Top 5 Cheltenham Free Bet Offers

As race sponsor we would expect Stan James  to have a " special " on this race.

Stan James 2012 Champion Hurdle Entries (and our guess at Runners and Jockeys)

There are twenty seven entries for the race but there may not be much depth. Four of the top nine horses when ranked by Official Ratings are entered in other races. Peddlers Cross is likely to show up in either the Arkle or Jewson Novice Chase and Thousand Stars and Mikael D' Haguenet  seem more likely to run in the World Hurdle unless something were to rule Hurricane Fly out of the race.

Horse

Age

Trainer

Jockey

OR

 

Hurricane Fly

8

W Mullins (IRE)

Ruby Walsh

173

 

Binocular

8

N Henderson

Tony Mc Coy

170

 

Overturn

8

D McCain Jnr

Jason Maguire

166

 

Celestial Halo

8

P Nicholls

 Harry Skelton

165

 

Rock On Ruby

7

P Nicholls

Noel Fehily

165

 

Brampour

5

P Nicholls

Harry Derham

161

 

Oscars Well

7

J Harrington (IRE)

Robbie Power

157

 

Zaidpour

6

W Mullins (IRE)

Paul Townend

161

 

Zarkandar

5

P Nicholls

Daryl Jacob

160

 

Kalann

5

S Harty (IRE)

Michael Darcy

145

 

 

There is more discussion on the Champion Hurdle on the forum. Here are the odds. 

Stan James Champion Hurdle 2012 Without the Favourite

We do think that if Hurricane Fly turns up he is by far the most likely winner so it might be worth having a look at the without the favourite market for your bet in this race.

 Tips and News from Cheltenham Previews

There have been reports from Cheltenham previews posted up on the Champion Hurdle Thread.  We think handicapper Phil Smith summed up the race nicely "You need a 170+ rated performance to win, so the most likely horse to achieve that is Hurricane Fly but I would definitely look outside the first one in the betting. Binocular achieved his second highest career rating when winning the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton and Zarkandar achieved a mark of (160) in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, but he is going in the right direction and he is bound to come on for the run and will appreciate the fast pace."

The Racing Post's tipster "Pricewise" has selected Oscars Well as his antepost pick for the race.  Leopardstown Preview here :

Champion Hurdle Winners since 2002  

Year

Winner

Trainer

Jockey

SP

Age 

Ran

2011

Hurricane Fly

Willie Mullins

Ruby Walsh

11/4F

 7

11

2010

Binocular

Nicky Henderson

Tony McCoy

9/2

 6

12

2009

Punjabi

Nicky Henderson

Barry Geraghty

22/1

 6

23

2008

Katchit

Alan King

Robert Thornton

10/1

 5

15

2007

Sublimity

John Carr

Paul Carberry

16/1

 7

10

2006

Brave Inca

Colm Murphy

Tony McCoy

7/4F

 8

18

2005

Hardy Eustace

Dessie Hughes

Conor O'Dwyer

7/2JF

 8

14

2004

Hardy Eustace

Dessie Hughes

Conor O'Dwyer

33/1

 7

14

2003

Rooster Booster

Philip Hobbs

Richard Johnson

9/2

 9

17

2002

Hors La Loi III

James Fanshawe

Dean Gallagher

10/1

 7

15

 

Fat Stats : Fat Jockey Cheltenham Trends and Trial Race Analysis

Last Run: 8 of the last 10 Champion Hurdle winners (Punjabi 2009 at  22/1 and Hardy Eustace 2004 at 33/1 the exceptions) have won last time out. The stat holds up well over a longer period too.16 of the 18  winners from 1983 to 2000 won their prep run.  The last ten winners all ran between 19 and 51 days before the race.

Starting Price: Hurricane Fly's win in 2011 ended a ropey period for Champion Hurdle favourite backers. Brave Inca won as favourite in 2006 but the next four finished 6 0 3 0. Favourites have won three of the last ten.

Age: Zarkandar looks like being the most significant five year old runner after Unaccompanied and Grandouet have dropped out. Since Nicky Henderson sent See You Then out to win the first of his three Champion Hurdles in 1985, eighty seven five year olds have run in the race. Only Katchit in 2008 has won.

Trainers: Spoils have been shared between Irish and English trained horses over the last decade with five wins each. Nicky Henderson has won 2 of the last 3 ( and the 3rd for five years in a row !).

Prep/Trial Races : Three of the last ten winners have had their prep race in the Kingwell Hurdle (won by Binocular in 2012)  while two of the last six had their last in the Irish Champion Hurdle (won by Hurricane Fly in 2012 ) .

The previous years renewal is probably the best race to look at for pointers. 5 of the last 10 winners finished in the first three in the previous year. Unfortunately for Binocular the stats for horses seeking to regain the title are not good. Only Comedy of Errors in 1975 has been successful. The Kempton Christmas Hurdle won by Binocular  is not a good pointer to the race either. The last horse to double up was Kribensis in 1989/90.

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