Everything you need to know about the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy is the most anticipated race of day 1 at the Cheltenham Festival and with a field of 36 horses, it’s not hard to see why. The race takes place at 3.30 on the 10th of March and is is the most prestigious race on what is unofficially dubbed “Champions Day”. 2020 marks the 90th running of the Champion Hurdle.

Race details

This race is a grade 1, 2m ½f distance with 8 hurdles to contend with. The price money for tis race alone is £450,000 (Winner: £256,275). Just imagine what the size money is for every race over the 4 days! For horses to qualify they must by 4 years or older and the following weights and Allowances: 5yo+ 11st 10lb; 4yo 11st 2lb. Allowances, mares 7lb.

The 5 most recent winners:

  • 2019 – Espoir D’Allen
  • 2018: Buveur D’Air
  • 2017: Buveur D’Air
  • 2016: Annie Power
  • 2015: Faugheen

Betting Spotlight

The favourite heading into this race is Epatante, trained by Nicky Henderson. Epatante notched up success in a limited handicap hurdle at Newbury in November. Following this was an impressive victory in the G1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Trainer, Henderson is the most successful handler in Unibet Champion Hurdle history with seven wins. Also statistically in her favour are her owners stats – J P McManus has won the race a record eight times. The five-year-old mare would become the fifth mare to claim the Unibet Champion Hurdle honours if successful.

It worth keeping an eye on the markets for Henderson’s other entries in this race. G1-winning mare Verdana Blue, last season’s G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner, Pentland Hills and G2 Unibet International Hurdle victor Call Me Lord all feature for the trainer.

 JCB Triumph Hurdle

Evan Williams trained, Silver Streak finished third in the 2019 Unibet Champion Hurdle and has continued in good form this season.

“Silver Streak is in good order and the Unibet Champion Hurdle is the target. It is likely that he will go straight there, though the Kingwell at Wincanton [15 February] is a possibility beforehand. He ran really well in the Christmas Hurdle and keeps running with credit in these big two-mile hurdles. With a bit of luck, hopefully he could be placed in the Champion Hurdle again.”

Keep your eyes on the markets and do your homework for your best shot at landing a winner in the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy. Check out theracing.co.uk full race tips page on the day for the best insights pre-race.

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Wednesday 3rd March - Each Way Lucky 15

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12:30

Wincanton

Seven No Trumps

Racing Post – Weak in the market but produced a promising display in third on racecourse debut in a maiden hurdle at Ludlow (2m5f, heavy); should have learned plenty from that and in-form stable’s runners have to be respected.

13:00

Wincanton

Doc Kauto

Racing Post – Promising over fences last season but well held on only subsequent outing at Newton Abbot in July; market check advised after his absence.

15:00

Musselburgh

Sword Of Fate

Racing Post – Has appreciated the recent return to hurdling, leading home several returning rivals when about 3l second over C&D at 50-1 last month (soft) and consolidating that form effort at Carlisle ten days later; shortlisted off same mark with Brian Hughes once more up, and drier ground is fine.

15:10

Wincanton

Akarita Lights

Racing Post – Last three starts 2m7f-3m1f on soft or heavy; runner-up at Market Rasen latest; does not look on a great mark but still considered.

Returns and odds correct at time of publishing.