The Champion Hurdle (Unibet Champion Hurdle for sponsorship reasons) is a Grade I National Hunt race held at the Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, England every year. The Hunt is open to horses older than 4 and is among the oldest National Hunts in the world. Established back in 1927, the Champion Hurdle is the last leg of the Triple Crown of Hurdling and the most prestigious hurdling event on the National Hunt calendar.
The race is held annually at the beginning of March when the Cheltenham Festival begins. It is run at the Old Course in Cheltenham over a distance of 2 miles and a ½ furlong, which translates to 3, 298 metres. Over the years, the most prestigious event among National Hunt races has seen major champions grace the track, with some of them such as Hatton’s Grace, Persian War, and Istabraq even getting races named in their honour. It’s safe to say that this race it’s the premier hurdling event of the year, and as such, it draws a fair share of visitors and bettors as well.
Over the years, only 5 horses have managed to win the Champion Hurdle more than 3 times – Hatton’s Grace, Istabraq, Persian War, See You Then, and Sir Ken. These horses are also the most successful horses in the race, each one leaving deep tracks in the history of hurdling. This year, there are legitimate claims that a 6th horse will be added to the list. Buveur d’Air has managed to win the hurdle in 2017 and 2018, and experts give Nicky Henderson’s racehorse solid chances of repeating the feat that will forever place him among the legends.
Of course, it won’t be easy. Last year’s runner-up Melon is among the favourites this year as well, although falling right behind Samcro and Laurina in the pecking order. It will be interesting to see if Buveur d’Air will forever be immortalized or a newcomer snatches up the prestigious trophy.
Buveur d’Air – the Bookie Favourite
Buveur d’Air is a seven-year-old racehorse trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty. The French horse was a hit in his native country long before reaching the UK, where he has competed in steeplechases before going back to the world of hurdling. After winning the Contenders Hurdle in the past 2 years, Buveur d’Air won the 2017 Champion Hurdle and again in 2018, when he remained unbeaten.
All of this has made Buveur d’Air one of the best horses to ever ride in the Champion Hurdle and if luck would have it this year, maybe a legend as well. It’s also the reason why bookies place Buveur d’Air right at the top spot of the list of favourites. If you think that the racehorse has what it takes for a hat-trick, you can wager on his 5/2 odds at Fun88, BetSid, MintBet, and Letou.
Not all experts agree with Buveur d’Air’s being the main favourite. Although the horse is in pole-position to win the National Hunt race considering the form he’s in, many think that the chances for a hat-trick are very unlikely. It certainly is a stunning and almost unbelievable feat, but if you decide to place a bet on the French horse, you won’t regret it with those odds.
Samcro, Laurina, and Melon – a Trio of No-Nonsense Challengers
Buveur d’Air may be the favourite, but he’s going to face serious competition in the likes of Samcro, Laurina, and Melon. All three horses are considered serious favourites by many experts, even though their odds aren’t that close to Buveur d’Air, which is great news for punters.
For example, Samcro is the closest on the list, available at 4/1 at MintBet, BetSid, Fun88, and Letou. This means that bookies fully expect Samcro to be the winner should Buveur d’Air fall under the pressure of a three-peat.
Laurina is next on the list with odds of 5/1 at BetSid and MintBet, and 11/2 at Letou and Fun88. Whichever bookie you pick, a Laurina win will bring you a nice return for a reasonable investment, so make sure to keep the mare in your plans.
Finally, the Champion Hurdle 2018 runner-up Melon will try and beat his nemesis Buveur d’Air once again this year, preventing him from entering the book of legends. If you think that Melon will snatch the trophy after getting so close last year, he’s available at 8/1 at MintBet and BetSid and 17/1 at Letou and Fun88.
All these odds are highly enticing if you ask us and are definitely worth a small investment if you think Buveur d’Air won’t win the race. The odds for the main favourite are great as well, but the risk the other horses pose make their odds much more challenging.
Summerville Boy – a True Dark Horse?
If you like betting on dark horses, Summerville Boy would be our top pick. Tom George’s racehorse recovered from a horrible mistake to win the Supreme Novice Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival which showed that he should be taken seriously.
If you think that Summerville Boy is worth giving a chance, his 12/1 odds (MintBet, Fun88, Letou, BetSid) looks reasonable enough for a small investment with a side of risk. We’d surely go for it – a nice bet on Summerville Boy will pay out great if the horse ends up winning the Champion Hurdle, which, if you ask some experts, isn’t as far-fetched as the odds are.
Min and Supasundae can also be considered dark horse favourites with odds of 16/1 at all bookies. If you’re looking for an additional bet besides placing a wager on the major favourite, these horses are definitely worth the risk.
Who’s Stuck Deep at the Bottom?
The ‘competition’ at the bottom when it comes to the Champion Hurdle 2019 is quite tough. Several horses are considered the unlikeliest winners of the premier Cheltenham Hunt race, with their odds high enough to keep punters from wagering.
For example, Letou and Fun88 have 6 horses sharing the last spot – Apples Shakira, Mr. Adjudicator, Redicean, Vision Del Flos, Mohaayed, and Storm Rising are all available at 50/1, being given almost no chances to win the hurdle.
The list is a bit shorter at MintBet and BetSid, although the protagonists are the same. Mr. Adjudicator and Apples Shakira are stuck at the bottom of each bookie’s list with odds of 50/1, which gives them virtually no chances of winning the upcoming Champion Hurdle. However, we’ve seen horses with even worse odds win major events, so maybe you should consider placing a tiny bet on each or one of them. If you have Lady Luck at your side, you could win thousands or even millions.