Day 1 Betting Tips Cheltenham Festival 2018 – our Eclipster: Betting Tipster Tony Ward, offers his analysis for the Champion Hurdle

Champion Hurdle Statistics

 3:30 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+)

The Champion Hurdle is the feature race on day 1 of The Festival. The Champion Hurdle was first run in 1927. The first winner was Blaris ridden by George Duller who was the leading exponent of his time. The race was first sponsored in 1978 by Waterford Crystal.

The Champion Hurdle has some strong statistics for those looking to reduce the number of runners to study, to hopefully find the winner:

  • 19 of the last 20 winners ran in the same calendar year
  • 25 of the last 31 winners won on their previous outing
  • 9 out of the last 12 winners ran within the previous 51 days
  • There have only been 4 winners over the age of 8 since 1951
  • 10 of the last 12 winners were aged between 6 and 8
  • 18 of the last 25 winners have won at Cheltenham previously
  • The last 12 winners had all won earlier in the season
  • 10 out of the last 12 winners had at least 1 previous Grade 1 win
  • 20 of the last 30 winners finished in the first 4 at the previous year’s Festival
  • 11 of the last 12 winners had previous winning form over 2 miles or 2 miles ½f
  • 21 of the last 24 winners started in the top 6 in the betting
  • Irish trained horses have won 10 of the last 16 renewals

Buveur D’Air ticks all of the statistics boxes but is highly likely to be sent off as the odds on favourite.

A bigger priced option is Elgin who is trained by Alan King. The six year old gelding, who was supplemented for the race by his owners Elite Racing Club for £20,000 won the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on his last start 25 days ago in Soft ground.

Alan King said this about his chances on his website on Monday. “Elgin has climbed 21lb in the ratings this season and deserves to take his chance. His new mark of 161 puts him higher than the second, fourth and sixth last year, and it was a career-best performance last time at Wincanton, where he was in front plenty soon enough and was giving weight to horses who were rated above him.

“If you take out the favourite it looks a wide-open Champion this year, and Elgin has continued progressing right through the winter and is now much more the finished article.

“Looking back, he learned an awful lot in last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – he had never been so quick but I think it made a man of him.”

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Tony Ward is a keen follower of horseracing and provides readers of EclipseMagazine.co.uk with betting tips and explanations of that complicated pastime. Please note, Tony’s tips are his opinion only and you follow them at your own risk.