The main event on day one attracts some of the best two milers around. It is open to horses aged four and over and the field take in eight hurdles on their way to possible glory. Seven of the last ten winners of the race have been Irish trained and nine of the last ten winners all won on their previous start. Mares have also taken four of the last seven renewals The winner usually comes home well within four minutes, and they are usually well found in the market. Only Espoir D’Allen and Rock On Ruby have won at double figure prices within the past decade.
Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins are the trainers to follow in this race having won the race no fewer than nine times between them. Punjabi, Binocular, Buveur D’Air (2017 & 2018) and Epatante have all scored for the master of Seven Barrows, whilst Hurricane Fly (2011 & 2013), Faugheen and Annie Power have all won for the Closutton based handler. Horses who perform well at Leopardstown and Sandown in their prep races tend to have a better chance of winning this race.
Previous Winners of the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
|2022||Honeysuckle||8||Henry De Bromhead||Rachael Blackmore|
|2021||Honeysuckle||7||Henry De Bromhead||Rachael Blackmore|
|2020||Epatante||6||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2019||Espoir D’Allen||5||Gavin Cromwell||Mark Walsh|
|2018||Buveur D’Air||7||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|2017||Buveur D’Air||6||Nicky Henderson||Noel Fehily|
|2016||Annie Power||8||Willie Mullins||Ruby Walsh|
|2015||Faugheen||7||Willie Mullins||Ruby Walsh|
|2014||Jezki||6||Jessie Harrington||Barry Geraghty|
|2013||Hurricane Fly||9||Willie Mullins||Ruby Walsh|
|2012||Rock On Ruby||7||Paul Nicholls||Noel Fehily|
Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy Runners
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Jockey: Nico De Boinville
Was made favourite ever since demolishing a fair field in the Supreme Novices’ last season and has maintained his lofty reputation ever since. Wide margin wins in the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdles mean he is very much the one to beat. Nicky Henderson last won this with Epatante back in 2020, but he is a master of winning this race having done so five times since 2009. He is rated six pounds higher than his nearest rival and on all known form ought to take the world of beating.
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Paul Townend
Another progressive sort who remains undefeated since February 2022. He was a particularly impressive winner of the County Hurdle last season beating the likes of First Street and Colonel Mustard. He is Ireland’s leading hope this year and having beaten the reigning Champion at Leopardstown last time, Willie Mullins will be confident of a huge run. He has six pounds to find with Constitution Hill on official ratings and that could well prove too much.
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Danny Mullins
Has not progressed as you would have imagined this season following his good win here in the Triumph last year. He has been beaten all too easily this year and his jumping has been somewhat sketchy at times. A return to this track may well bring out some further improvement in him but he gives the impression that this sort of company over this sort of trip is too much.
I Like To Move It
Trainer: Nigel Twiston
Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies
Locally trained runner and he bounced back to form with a demolition of the useful Knappers Hill un the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton back in January. He is a three time course and distance winner but Grade 2 races are probably more to his liking. Others in here just look to be far more consistent and have just that little more class.
Jason The Militant
Trainer: Phil Kirby
Jockey: Joel Williamson
A former Grade 2 winner in his younger days but they sadly seem to be a long and distant memory now. He has been beaten a combined total of sixty lengths in his last four races and as one of the oldest in this line-up, he looks squarely up against it. Realistically he needs to have his sights lowered and he may be able to find a small race in time. Definitely not the force of old and best avoided today.
Not So Sleepy
Trainer: Hughie Morrison
Jockey: Jonathan Burke
Has been in the doldrums since dead-heating with Epatante in the Fighting Fifth in November 2021. His highlight of the season so far was when finishing third to Run For Oscar in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket last autumn. Two spins over hurdles this year have seen a certain regression and he looks completely out of his depth in this company.
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Davy Russell
Has not won a race of any kind since October 2021. Did keep good company last year and was placed in the Champion Hurdle behind Honeysuckle (before subsequently being disqualified). Has looked lifeless in three starts this season and has a serious amount of improvement to find in order to reverse recent form with State Man.
1/3 Constitution Hill, 3/1 State Man, 12/1 Vauban, 20/1 I Like To Move It, 66/1 Zanahiyr, 150/1 Not So Sleepy, 150/1 Jason The Militant
Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy Key Trends
- 10 of the last 12 winners were unbeaten during the current season
- 9 of the past 13 winners had run no more than nine times over hurdles
- 14 of the past 24 winners had won at the festival previously
Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy Tips
CONSTITUTION HILL is hardly the bravest of selections but on all known form that we have seen, he should take a lot of stopping. He has already beaten the likes of Epatante this season and he dismissed her with such ease that it was quite breath-taking. His stablemate loves this race and this track and has not finished outside the first two places in the last two renewals, so Epatante could give him a 1-2 here. With Honeysuckle appearing to be on the downgrade, State Man seems to have won a weak Grade One at Leopardstown last time. He will need to up his game a little bit more here.
Selection: CONSTITUTION HILL
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