Three Previous Festival Winners Head 2022 Champion Hurdle Field

Written by Chris Baxter
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As the countdown to the Cheltenham Festival continues, the field for each of the four championship races begins to cement itself into place.

One of those races is the Champion Hurdle, the feature race on day one of the meeting, and we have seen three horses come to the head of the market after others have been withdrawn.

The favourite is currently Honeysuckle, who is priced up at 4/6 as of February 9 in the latest Cheltenham betting. The Irish mare won the Champion Hurdle last season, and since passing the post in 2021, she has been the favourite to win the race again in 2022.

While Honeysuckle is seen as one of the bankers of the meeting by many, she won’t have things her own way in the race. She dominates the Champion Hurdle tips, but don’t forget about two others in the race. These are appreciated It, trained by Willie Mullins and Epatante, trained by Nicky Henderson. The first mentioned won in great style as a novice at the festival last season, while Epatante won the Champion Hurdle back in 2020.

These three lead the way and in the betting market, they are the only three runners that are available at single-figure odds.

Injury Rules Sharjah Out of Champion Hurdle

The gap between the front three in the betting and the remainder of the field has been made bigger due to the absence of a handful of runners who won’t make it, most notably Sharjah. An injury will keep him out of the race, one in which he has finished second in over the last two years.

In 2020, Epatante won the Champion Hurdle with Sharjah back in second place and then Honeysuckle came out on top in 2021, with Sharjah once again filling second spot. While beating the two mares would not have been easy, Sharjah was certainly an each-way angle into the race, and a horse that many felt would be capable of picking up the pieces, should the front runners underperform on the day.

Honeysuckle Warms up in Perfect Style

The Champion Hurdle favourite showed us all what she is made of when she won the Irish Champion Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival. The race was easier than the task she will face at Cheltenham, but she could not have been any more impressive.

This run sets her up perfectly, just like it did last year, and she will now head to the festival where she is looking to land back-to-back titles. The super mare has a huge following, and even though she may be too short in the betting for some to bet on her, should she come home in front in the feature race on day one then the roof will come off the course.

Rachel Blackmore will ride, who is another very popular member of the racing community, so expect plenty of backing for this formidable pair in March.

Top Image "Cheltenham racecourse" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Carine06

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Read 1281 times Last modified on Saturday, 12 February 2022 11:03
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Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter

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