Home / News / Tipster Blogs / Cheltenham Festival Previews – Champion Hurdle (Andrew Mount)

Tipster Blogs

Cheltenham Festival Previews – Champion Hurdle (Andrew Mount)

Horse racing

The Champion Hurdle is the feature race on Cheltenham’s Day One card. Find out Andrew Mount‘s thoughts on the race at this stage along with an exclusive Sky Bet sign-up bonus of Bet £5 – Get £20 In Free Bets.


UNIBET CHAMPION HURDLE CHALLENGE TROPHY (Cheltenham 3.30, Tuesday, March 15)


HONEYSUCKLE

Henry de Bromhead’s seven-year-old mare bolted up by six and a half lengths from Sharjah in this race 12 months ago, to take her career record to 1111111111111 (13-13). The runner-up won Grade 1 contests on his next two starts and third-home Epatante has also won twice at the top level during the current campaign. She’s 5lb clear on Racing Post Ratings and is long odds-on to make it 14 wins from 14 career starts when she contests the Irish Champion Hurdle on Sunday (February 6).


Join Sky Bet And Get £20 In Free Bets


SHARJAH

Willie Mullins’ nine-year-old is two from two, both in Grade 1 contests, since finding only Honeysuckle too good in this race 12 months ago. He has a phenomenal record in the later months of the years, with all his wins coming from August until December, including November/December figures of 1F31141111 (7-10). From January to July his record reads 78463B6240322 (0-13) and, while it would be no surprise to see him grab a place for the third year running, it’s hard to see him winning.


Join Sky Bet And Get £20 In Free Bets


APPRECIATE IT

The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old hasn’t been seen on a racecourse since bolting up by 24 lengths from Ballyadam in last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Visually impressive though that was, the runner-up is 0-4 since and the other runners have hardly advertised the form at a high level. His only defeat since his debut under Rules was when runner-up to Ferny Hollow in the 2020 Champion but he’s ducked a clash with Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle and we’re getting dangerously close to the festival.


Join Sky Bet And Get £20 In Free Bets


EPATANTE

At 10-1 in the antepost lists Nicky Henderson’s mare is the shortest price of the British-trained contingent. Successful in this race in 2020 when she had Sharjah three lengths back in second, she was well held by Honeysuckle when third last year and again when filling the same position at Punchestown. She’ll arrive at Cheltenham in better form than 12 months ago and has solid each-way claims.


Join Sky Bet And Get £20 In Free Bets


SAINT ROI

Last year’s impressive County Hurdle winner has mostly acquitted himself with credit in Graded company this term, with November’s neck second to Abacadabras at Punchestown the highlight. Small field/tactical affairs aren’t ideal and he’s two from two in double-figure line-ups since his Irish debut. This race should be run to suit and he makes each-way appeal.


Join Sky Bet And Get £20 In Free Bets


TOMMY’S OSCAR

Ann Hamilton’s seven-year-old is improving hand over fist and will arrive at the Cheltenham on the back of four straight wins. The latest of those victories came in The Grade 2 Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock where he benefitted from the strong pace. Plenty have crabbed the form and his lofty official rating of 156 but he wouldn’t be the first horse from this yard to be underrated. Progeny of his sire Oscar have a record of 032162 (1-6) in this race, with the win coming from Rock On Ruby (11-1) in 2012.


Join Sky Bet And Get £20 In Free Bets


ECHOES IN RAIN

The Willie Mullins-trained mare is due to run at the Dublin Racing Festival (February 6) but small-field tactical affairs aren’t ideal for her and she’ll probably struggle to strike a blow, like when a 15-length fourth at Sharjah at Leopardstown over Christmas. This hooded and sometimes keen sort hasn’t had many opportunities in big fields and she could go well at a big price (50-1 at the time of writing).


Join Sky Bet And Get £20 In Free Bets


TRITONIC

Alan King’s five-year-old won well from off the pace in a field of 12 runners at Ascot just before Christmas and didn’t enjoy the small field/tactical affair when fourth to Epatante in Grade 1 company at Kempton just eight days later. His hurdles record in fields of nine or more runners reads 1151 (3-4), with the defeat in the Greatwood and he too could go well at an each-way price.


BIG RACE VERDICT

HONEYSUCKLE will be very difficult to beat, assuming that she maintains her 100% record with victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle at the weekend (February 6). Each-way or ‘without the favourite’ might be the best way to play the race on the day, with Saint Roi, Epatante, Tommy’s Oscar, Echoes In Rain and Tritonic preferred in that order.


BACK HONEYSUCKLE HERE AND GET £20 IN FREE BETS


Join Sky Bet And Get £20 In Free Bets


Sky BetNEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 2 X £10 BET TOKENS. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS EXCLUDE VIRTUALS. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS. FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG

begambleaware.org