• Hands Heels

Champion Hurdle (Grade One)

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

15:05 Cheltenham 16/03

Wow, what a race we have developing here! At some points of the season it looked a poor renewal, with Epatante below par on boxing day when beaten six lengths by Silver Streak, who although deserving his day in the sun, you would be disappointed with him winning a Champion Hurdle. We had a Goshen who looked a shell of his former self, two soft flat runs before a nothing run in the International where he finished a tame last and didn’t look himself at all. Buveur D’Air was also underwhelming on her return being beaten by Navajo Pass despite having every chance to get by.

In the last couple of months however, this race has been completely brought to life with two main events, Honeysuckle’s demolition job in the Irish Champion Hurdle and Goshen’s resurgence. Following Honeysuckle’s win last time out connections are keen to test her in this rather than the less prestigious Mares Hurdle. Last year people questioned whether 2 miles was her best trip, but the eye-catching performance the last time beating Abacadabras and multiple grade one winner Sharjah was taking and she is worthy favourite for this race. Goshen’s spectacular return to form last weekend against the re-opposing Song For Someone reversing the International form by 51 lengths, also beating Navajo Pass, last years Triumph fourth who had beaten Buveur D’Air on is previous start. But it wasn’t just the reversal of form that was impressive, it was Gary Moore’s nonchalant looks around, the way he took two very good horses out of their comfort zone and galloped them into the ground. I for one was impressed and can’t wait to watch this race on the day.

That being said from a betting perspective I think the race has some great value, I will be having a bet on Honeysuckle who has done nothing wrong and proved her ability over two miles last time out. 3/1 is surprisingly good value for this as I think she is clear on ability. Epatante disappointed last time out and don’t think 7/2 would be enough to entice me into having a play on her, and I think Goshen, although exciting and adds a real level of intrigue to the race, will struggle to give 7lbs to Honeysuckle. Although that being said he is a freak of nature and may well bolt up, just not with my money on him.

Outside of the main protagonist there are honourable mentions, Abacadabras who was second to Honeysuckle last time out, I’m not convinced by him at a relatively short price and cannot have him reversing that form. Silver Streak has been super consistent this year but will most likely find a few too good in a race of this calibre. The one that catches my eye for an each way shout would be Sharjah at 16/1, last years second in this race, grade one winner in December beating Abacadabras a long way. I can forgive his last run where the pace Honeysuckle went caught him out and finishing behind Abacadabras who was second. I can see this super reliable horse plugging on to fill the places, using his experience and customary strong finish to beat tiring horses up the Cheltenham Hill.


Honeysuckle 3/1 1pt win

Sharjah 16/1 0.5pts each way

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