The Champion Hurdle Trial has now been renamed The New One Unibet Hurdle (Champion Hurdle Trial).
This is in honour of the well loved horse trained by Nigel Twiston Davies who won the last 4 runnings of this race (2015-2018).
Currently 10 runners go to post and the first 6 in the market are all single figures.
Silver Streak is the current favourite and is a consistent sort for trainer Evan Williams. In 13 runs he has only finished out of the frame on 4 occasions. However within those 9 other races he has only got his head in front 4 times. He was very unfortunate in the Greatwood Hurdle where he was beaten a neck. The next time that he ran at Cheltenham he came up against a horse he will encounter again on Saturday in the Champion Hurdle Trial.
Champion Hurdle pretender to throne for Henderson?
That horse is the Nicky Henderson trained Brain Power. He beat Silver Streak by 1.75l in the International Hurdle on that day. Interestingly now there is a 6lb swing in favour of Silver Streak though.
For me Brain Power is too much of a risk at 10/3 to be having a bet on. If you look at his runs since November 2017 (7 runs), we have 2 wins, 2 falls, unseated rider, 2nd (5 runners) and 4th (6 runners). Although 5 of the 6 were over fences I would still question his attitude. In his earlier years he ran twice at Cheltenham over hurdles and was beaten convincingly on both occasions. He finished 9th of 10 finishers in the 2017 Champion Hurdle and prior to that had finished 8th of 12 finishers in the 2016 Greatwood.
In the same period Silver Streak has had the same amount of runs and has had 2 wins, 3 x 2nd places, unseated rider and a 6th place (17 runners). This too me is a far more consistent type of horse albeit still not quite Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle form.
Champion Hurdle Contenders?
Two others that I like the look of are the Warren Greatrex trained Western Ryder and Dan Skelton’s Mohaayed.
Western Ryder is another horse that ran in the International Hurdle. He too will have a 6lb swing in his favour. But he has to find 4l from last time out. A lot will depend upon if Richard Johnson can reproduce the form the horse was showing in late 2017. Also I think he was unlucky in the Supreme Novices race last year and was still running on to come 6th. The horse who won that (Summerville Boy), he had defeated in December by 13l.
In his last run at Ascot he looked beaten and hammered the last hurdle handing the initiative to Mohaayed. He scooted away to spring a shock. However it is worth remembering that Mohaayed also won the County Hurdle at the Festival in 2018.
Therefore although the going may not be ideal for him, both jockey and trainer (Harry and Dan Skelton) are still in fine form albeit not as red hot as earlier in the season. I believe that the Skeltons could have a very lively Champion Hurdle contender.
Although the question will be can anything beat Buveur Dair come Tuesday March 12th? Again….
Tip of the Day
MY CHAMPION HURDLE 2019 TIP OF THE DAY IS MOHAAYED @ 9/2
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