Champion Hurdle Betting Preview: Can Buveur D'Air Defend His Crown?

Martin Green

Sunday, March 3, 2019 8:28 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 3, 2019 8:28 PM UTC

Buveur D'Air delivered a stylish performance to win last year's Champion Hurdle, but competition will be ferocious this time around as he tries to repeat the feat.

<h2>Champion Hurdle 2019</h2><p>The Champion Hurdle is the feature race on day one of the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Cheltenham Festival">Cheltenham Festival</a> and it always attracts an extremely strong field. The prize purse for this Grade 1 contest stands at £400,000 and millions of fans and punters will tune in to watch the drama unfold. It is the most prestigious hurdling event in the National Hunt calendar and has seen some very famous winners over the years, including National Spirit, Istabraq and Hatton’s Grace. It began in 1927 and has long been the centrepiece event for the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, which is arguably the biggest racing meeting in the world.</p><p>It takes place over a distance of 2 miles ½ furlong and there are eight fences to be jumped during its running. The greatest hurdlers of all time have triumphed here, including National Spirit, Persian War and Istabraq, and an extremely strong field will gather to compete for glory this time around. The Champion Hurdle is sponsored by <a href=";a=4fd3c129-b898-4816-9a61-9f7e8f34295a" target="_blank" title="Unibet">Unibet</a>.</p><h2>Champion Hurdle Odds</h2><p>Odds-on favourite Buveur D’Air beat stablemate My Tent Or Yours to seize last year’s Champion Hurdle and he is the favourite to defend his crown in 2019. However, he is not looking quite so invincible this time around after his 11-race winning streak came to an end when he finished second behind Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle. Yet he bounced back with a strong win at Sandown last month and he deserves his status as favourite for this race. <a href=";a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b" target="_blank" title="William Hill">William Hill</a> has a market leading 2/1 on <a href="" target="_blank" title="Nicky Henderson">Nicky Henderson</a>’s eight-year-old superstar, and it also has the best price of 9/4 on second favourite Apple’s Jade.</p><p>She was third in the Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, despite going off as 1/2 favourite. She followed it up by finishing third again in the Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown the following month, but she appears to have kicked on this season. She has won all four races for <a href="" target="_blank" title="Gordon Elliott">Gordon Elliott</a>, three of them at Grade 1 level, and she looks capable of usurping Buveur D’Air in this race.</p><p>Yet the field is stacked full of talent, and it would be folly to discount Verdana Blue, who could make a great each-way shout at 16/1 with William Hill and <a href=";a=8ec6399a-9df1-4c52-b272-39e6428836a6" target="_blank" title="Betfair">Betfair</a>. The unbeaten Laurina is the big hope for Cheltenham legend <a href="" target="_blank" title="Willie Mullins">Willie Mullins</a> after dazzling in the Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle last year. She has since extended her winning streak to six races. Ruby Walsh is excited about her chances and she will be a real handful in this race, while Sharjah is worth a look at 12/1 with William Hill and Samcro could make this interesting if entered into this race.</p><h2>Champion Hurdle Betting Tips</h2><p>The last 15 winners of this race finished either first or second in one of their previous three races. They had all won three or more times on a galloping track, and they were all running within 90 days of their last start. Nine of the last 10 winners were aged between six and eight and had won a Grade 1 race before.</p><p>The romantics will opt for another famous win for Buveur D’Air, but it looks risky as he may not have quite so much left in the tank. The unbeaten Laurina looks really interesting at 4/1 and if those odds drift a tiny bit then she will make an excellent each-way bet.</p>
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