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Cheltenham Festival

Apple's Jade To Take A Bite Out Of Buveur D'Air? 2019 Cheltenham Festival Ready For Classic Champion Hurdle Clash

Tuesday 5th March 2019
Buveur D'Air Will be Aiming For A Third Successive Win In The Champion Hurdle
Buveur D'Air Will be Aiming For A Third Successive Win In The Champion Hurdle

The Champion Hurdle hasn't always had the billing it has deserved in recent years with a lack of depth in the coveted division but that isn't the case this season with the day one feature shaping up to be a stellar renewal.

The Cheltenham Odds for the Champion Hurdle are always hugely popular and with the race now just one week away we can start to get excited about a three-way fight for the crown.

King Buveur To Claim The Hat-Trick?

All eyes will be on Buveur D'Air as he bids to join the great names of the past and become a triple winner of the Champion Hurdle but on paper this year looks set to be his toughest test yet, with two exciting Irish Mares set to take on the defending champion.

The Nicky Henderson trained star has been untouchable in the 2m hurdle division over the past couple of years with successive Champion Hurdle victories but even taking that into account, some racing fans have been reluctant to shower the horse with too much praise. A head victory over Melon in the race twelve months ago is hardly world class form and a surprise defeat to Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton two starts ago has also raised doubts about his ability to head back to the Festival for another victory.

A facile success at Sandown on his most recent start will have boosted his confidence and supporters of the JP McManus trained star will hope that his slick jumping and Festival form will once again bring the best out of the defending king.

The Irish Mares Are Coming...

Buveur D'Air is the current champion and the leading hope for the UK but this year he faces a potentially huge test with two foreign invaders aiming to take his crown.

Apple's Jade has been the star of the season on the other side of the Irish Sea for Gordon Elliott and the racing world rejoiced when connections confirmed that a Champion Hurdle tilt was the clear plan. That came after a stunning success in the Irish Champion Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival with connections simply unable to avoid letting their star horse take on the boys at Prestbury Park.

The Gigginstown animal was beaten in the Mares Hurdle last season but has looked a different animal this term and on the bare form of her 16 length beating of Supsaundae last time out, she has to be right in the mix. A fast pace and the mares allowance will give a fit and firing Apple's Jade a huge chance of taking down the current champ from Seven Barrows.

The final contender of the top three in the betting is Laurina and she goes into Cheltenham as the joker in the pack. The Willie Mullins trained horse demolished the field when winning the Dawn Run Mares Novices' Hurdle last season and has done the same on two starts this term against her own sex. The form of the six-year-old puts her way behind Apple's Jade and Buveur D'Air but the vibes form the yard suggest that they believe Laurina is special.

If Laurina can go and win a Champion Hurdle at this stage of her career then we could be set for the birth of a superstar in Gloucestershire next week but that really is a big if at this stage.

Apple's To Take A Bite Out Of Buveur...

It would be foolish to write off the rest of the field completely with the likes of the aforementioned Melon and Sharjah not to be ignored, especially the latter if the race turns into a crawl early on, but it would be a major surprise if the winner didn't come from the top three in the market.

Apple's Jade has been imperious this season with Grade 1 wins at 3m and 2m, with her performances seemingly improving with every run which is a scary thought for her opponents.. The main threat for the Gordon Elliott trained mare is the lack of early pace in the race with her stamina perhaps crucial to the outcome, a sprint finish could favour her market rivals so provided we get a decent gallop, this could be the year of the Apple at Cheltenham!

Cheltenham Runners

Champion Hurdle Betting

Apples Jade J W Kennedy / G Elliott 9/4 9/4 2 2 9/4 5/2 9/4 2
Laurina R Walsh / W P Mullins 5/2 5/2 5/2 5/2 5/2 11/4 5/2 5/2
Buveur DAir B J Geraghty / N J Henderson 11/4 11/4 11/4 11/4 11/4 3 11/4 11/4
Espoir DAllen M P Walsh / G P Cromwell 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16
Melon P Townend / W P Mullins 16 16 16 16 16 16 16 16
Sharjah Mr P W Mullins / W P Mullins 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
Brain Power Nico de Boinville / N J Henderson 33 33 33 33 33 40 33 33
Verdana Blue D N Russell / N J Henderson 33 33 33 33 33 40 33 33
Global Citizen D Bass / B Pauling 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50
Silver Streak Adam Wedge / Evan Williams 66 66 80 80 66 66 66 80
Each Way Terms 3
1/5
3
1/5
- 3
1/5
3
1/5
3
1/4
3
1/5
3
1/5

Champion Hurdle Betting

BEST ODDS
1. Apples Jade J W Kennedy / G Elliott
5/2
FREE BET ODDS
5/2
9/4
9/4
9/4
9/4
2
2
2
2. Laurina R Walsh / W P Mullins
11/4
FREE BET ODDS
11/4
5/2
5/2
5/2
5/2
5/2
5/2
3. Buveur DAir B J Geraghty / N J Henderson
3
FREE BET ODDS
3
11/4
11/4
11/4
11/4
11/4
11/4
4. Espoir DAllen M P Walsh / G P Cromwell
16
FREE BET ODDS
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
5. Melon P Townend / W P Mullins
16
FREE BET ODDS
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
6. Sharjah Mr P W Mullins / W P Mullins
20
FREE BET ODDS
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
7. Brain Power Nico de Boinville / N J Henderson
40
FREE BET ODDS
40
33
33
33
33
33
33
33
8. Verdana Blue D N Russell / N J Henderson
40
FREE BET ODDS
40
33
33
33
33
33
33
33
9. Global Citizen D Bass / B Pauling
50
FREE BET ODDS
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
10. Silver Streak Adam Wedge / Evan Williams
80
FREE BET ODDS
80
80
80
66
66
66
66
66
Odds correct as of 11th Apr, 15:30 . Odds are subject to change.
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