CHAMPION HURDLE HEROES: We thought it would be good fun to reminisce over some of our favourite Champion Hurdle winners.
Champion Hurdle day is always the most exciting day at Cheltenham. Mainly because it’s the first day, and the buzz builds and builds for weeks before. Champion Hurdle horses are always that bit more special when they’re good – it’s the speed they travel at, the way they jump and that turn of foot that just makes you go wow!
We’ve seen some incredible horses win it throughout the years. Most racing fans will never forget the likes of Istabraq. We’ve looked at the last ten renewals and picked out our top three moments..
3️⃣ 2013. Winner: Hurricane Fly
Hurricane Fly was a marvellous horse. The amount of Grade 1’s he won against top class opposition will go down in the history books for many years to come – he had some tremendous battles in Ireland but the true test was always winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
He lost his crown in 2012 to Rock On Ruby but he came back in 2013 and regained his crown in front of a very happy Cheltenham crowd. The way he cruised up after jumping the second last was Hurricane Fly all over. The way he jumped and his battling ability was what made him a great, but his cruising speed is what set him apart. He was the first horse since 1975 to regain the crown!
2️⃣ 2019. Winner: Espoir D’Allen
What a tragic shame that we never saw Espoir D’Allen on a racecourse again after he had a life ending accident on the gallops. He absolutely demolished this field after it was billed as one of the best races in 2019. Buveur D’Air departed early and Apple’s Jade was also well beaten early, but he put the field to the sword turning in and left Laurina for dust.
It was an incredible performance for a young horse. How long has it been since we seen a horse win a Champion Hurdle this easily? And we won’t see the likes of it again for a long time. It was desperately unlucky for BETDAQ Brand Ambassador Gavin Cromwell to lose his stable star, but he will never forget this day at Cheltenham.
1️⃣ 2016. Winner: Annie Power
Annie Power will likely always be remembered for her fall when Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh where going for the famous four winners on Tuesday! This was her moment though and she deserved it after finished second in the Stayers Hurdle and then falling in the Mares Hurdle with the race at her mercy.
It’s unfortunate that she was called a “super sub” in the commentary but you can understand that given the build-up for this race and the Mullins change in plans. She was excellent on the day though – that turn of foot as they turn into the straight is pure horse racing excellence. Just watch the race and enjoy!