Champion Hurdle Preview : Wicklow Brave Can Make The Payout Places
- Cheltenham Racecourse
- Tuesday March 13th at 3.30pm
- Live on ITV
Buvuer D‘Air is the shortest priced favourite at the Cheltenham Festival but there could be some each-way value in the Champion Hurdle. Wicklow Brave is a Group 1 winner on the Flat who ran a decent race last year so could reward each way backers by making the payout places. Bookmakers are paying one fifth the odds for the first three places or you could back the horse in the Place market with a betting exchange. In any case you can use your bookmaker Cheltenham free bets on the Champion Hurdle. Wicklow Brave represents the each-way value.
The race is the championship contest for two mile hurdlers and is the most prestigious race in the sport in the discipline. There are eight obstacles and no margin for error because a mistake can put a horse out of the race. The Champion Hurdle has a history of producing multiple champions and Buveur D’Air can become the latest two-time winner. The horse won the race impressively last season and is now even better and nothing has emerged to take on the champion.
Faugheen (‘The Machine’) won the race in 2015 and looked destined to join the group of horses with more than one win. Istabraq was the last three-time winner (1998-2000) and Faugheen had the talent to match or better that record. However, injury intervened and Faugheen returned from a long term layoff earlier this season. There was an encouraging first run then a desperate one and in defeat to Supasundae Faugheen did not excel so there are doubts another Champion Hurdle is winnable. The horse can be backed at 13/2 with Betfair. (18+ Ts and Cs Apply).
My Tent Or Yours looked as good as ever in winning the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December. The horse has finished second in two Champion Hurdles and deserves to have won one. However, there has always been a better horse on the day and pulling early in the race has not helped. My Tent Or Yours (10/1 with Ladbrokes 18+ Ts and Cs Apply) cannot beat Buveur D’Air barring an accident but is certainly a horse that can make the frame again. The horse gets up the hill at Cheltenham but has not quite delivered.
Wicklow Brave won the Punchestown Champion Hurdle last April. This was a Grade 1 contest off level weights. My Tent Or Yours was one and a half lengths back in second place and former Champion Hurdle runner-up Arctic Fire was a further neck adrift. There were some other decent animals behind so the form is reliable. Wicklow Brave beat Order Of St George in the Irish St Leger and that represents by far the best Flat form of the Champion Hurdle runners.
Wicklow Brave has not done enough to beat Buveur D’Air (4/7 with Betway 18+ Ts and Cs Apply) but has definite place claims at Cheltenham. The horse cannot make up the 14 and half lengths on the same terms from the race last year. However, Wicklow Brave lost some ground at the start and got close to the leaders before weakening approaching the final obstacle. The horse could have finished must closer to the winner and even a five lengths deficit at the line could be good enough for second or third place.
WICKLOW BRAVE can make the frame behind Buveur D'Air in the Champion Hurdle.
Get odds of 14/1 on Wicklow Brave with William Hill. (18+ Ts and Cs Apply)
- The actual distance of the race is two miles and a half furlong.
- Several former winners are honoured in race titles, such as Istabraq and Lanzarote.
- Five horses have won the race three times, most recently Istabraq.
- Ruby Walsh is the joint leading jockey with four wins.
- Nicky Henderson has trained six winners which is a record.
- JP McManus is the leading owner with six wins.
- Three favourites have won in the last five years.
- The average price of the winner over the last 10 years is 7/1.
- Most recent winners have been aged from 6 to 8.
- Buveur D’Air is a seven-year-old.