Unibet Champion Hurdle Preview

Buveur D'Air after winning the 2018 Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival
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The Unibet Champion Hurdle is the first of the four Championship races at the Cheltenham Festival. Won by the likes of Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, Brave Inca, Punjabi, Hurricane Fly and Faugheen, this year’s edition has been touted as one of the weakest, and most wide-open, in living memory.

Despite the lack of a superstar in the ranks of the two-mile hurdlers, it’s still a hugely fascinating renewal which boasts a bumper field. There’s plenty of each way value out there, of which you can take advantage with sponsors Unibet. They’re offering up to a £40 money back bonus if your first bet at the Festival loses.

How Can I Claim This Offer?

All new customers should join Unibet. Open an account and make a deposit and then place a bet of at least £1 at minimum odds of 2/5 (1.40).

If your racing bet wins, you have completed the bonus and will receive your winnings and your stake. If the bet loses though, you will receive your stake back to a maximum of £40. You will also receive a £10 Casino Bonus.

The Unibet Champion Hurdle


The one horse who could be a superstar in this year’s Champion Hurdle is the mare Epatante. Trained by Nicky Henderson who certainly knows what it takes to win the race, she landed a competitive handicap on her reappearance by six lengths before a decisive win in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

The six-year-old has won four of her five starts for Henderson. The one defeat she did suffer is hugely concerning though. Sent off the 15/8 favourite for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival, she trailed home in ninth. With question marks regarding the course for her, she looks a little short in the market.

Pentland Hills

Stablemate Pentland Hills emerged as the leading juvenile hurdler in the 2018-19 season when landing back to back Grade One events at Cheltenham and Aintree. He’s suffered the same fate that plagues many Triumph Hurdle winners though, finding life tougher in open company the following year.

He travelled well on his return before finding little off the bridle, finishing fifth to Call Me Lord. He did show more at Haydock the following month, only just collared by Ballyandy in the dying stages. That came on ground heavier than ideal and he’s received a wind operation since. Returned to Prestbury Park and granted a stronger pace, he could quite easily get back to his very best.

Cilaos Emery

Willie Mullins’ charge has been supplemented for the race after a recent impressive return to hurdling at Gowran Park. His first four starts this season had come over fences, winning three including a Grade Two at Cork prior to an early fall at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Owing to the weak nature of this year’s Champion Hurdle and stablemate Sharjah’s inconsistent form, he looks to have definite each way claims. Mullins has won four renewals of the race since 2011, and whilst Cilaos Emery doesn’t compare to Hurricane Fly, Faugheen and Annie Power, he was a very useful novice hurdler and impressed visually on his prep run.


Now entering the veteran stage of his career, however Supasundae showed no sign of a dip in form when finishing fourth to Honeysuckle on his first start for 274 days at the Dublin Racing Festival. A hugely versatile performer who saves his best work for the spring, his success at Aintree last season from Buveur D’Air is some of the best form in the race.

Double digit prices could look very generous on the day, particularly given that he’s already a three-times Grade One winner. His penultimate start at the Punchestown Festival, when only just denied by Buveur D’Air, who himself would be odds on for this renewal, suggests he’s been underestimated by the bookies.

Darver Star

The eight-year-old was rated just 104 in March when finishing third in a maiden hurdle at Wexford. His form has exploded since though, scoring five times prior to finishing third to Envoi Allen in the Royal Bond in December.

Gavin Cromwell’s charge then outran his odds at the Dublin Racing Festival, finishing just half-a-length behind the prolific Honeysuckle. Ahead of Harrington’s Supasundae there, he comes into the race in flying form and his ability to stay further could prove invaluable up the Cheltenham hill.


He’s undoubtedly a class act on his day, as seen when landing the Morgiana and the Ryanair Hurdle in his native Ireland in 2018 as well as the latter race this year. However, sent off just 2/1 at the Dublin Racing Festival, he made a few niggly mistakes before finishing held in sixth. He’ll need to show plenty more here, and his sole visit to Cheltenham saw him finish eighth in the 2018 Supreme.

Silver Streak

Another who could offer some each way value is Evan Williams’ Silver Streak, who finished third in a far deeper renewal last season behind Espoir D’Allen. The seven-year-old is often pegged as needing good ground, enhanced by his impressive win at Kempton in October on his return. However, he ran career bests on RPRs on a testing surface twice subsequently, including when second to Epatante on Boxing Day.

Terms & Conditions

Full Terms and Conditions
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