Champion Hurdle

The Cheltenham Festival is a four-day celebration of National Hunt racing, which takes place at Prestbury Park, Gloucestershire in March every year. National Hunt racing first took place at Prestbury Park, but the Champion Hurdle wasn’t added to the Cheltenham Festival programme until 1927. Nowadays, the Champion Hurdle is the feature race on the first day of the Festival and the first of the ‘championship’ races.

The most prestigious hurdle race in the National Hunt calendar, the Champion Hurdle is run over 2 miles and 110 yards on the Old Course at Prestbury Park. Favourites have a decent record in the Champion Hurdle in recent years, with Hurricane Fly (2011, 2013), Faugheen (2015) and Annie Power (2016) all victorious in the last ten years. All four were trained in Ireland, along with Sublimity (2007) and Jezki (2014), so Irish trainers have won six of the last 10 renewals.

Istabraq, trained by Aidan O’Brien and owned by John Patrick (“J.P.”) McManus, won the Champion Hurdle in 1998, 1999 and 2000 to become the most recent of five horses to win the race three times. J.P. McManus also owned Binocular (2010) and Jezki (2014) and is the leading owner with five wins in all, while Rupert “Ruby” Walsh rode Hurricane Fly twice, Faugheen and Annie Power and is the leading jockey with four wins. Nicky Henderson saddled See You Then (1985, 1986 and 1987), Punjabi (2009) and Binocular (2010) and is the leading trainer with five wins.

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