Punjabi, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden brilliantly by Barry Geraghty was the surprise winner of the Champion Hurdle, ahead of Celestial Halo and his stablemate and hot favourite, Binocular.
The race was set up by Osan, who like last year went into an early lead, but the tactic failed as the the three principles took over the race two hurdles out. Punjabi however proved his courage by hanging on grimly from the staying on Celestial Halo and Binocular. The winner was third last year, but his jockey has maintained all season that Punjabi would have always been his choice in the race. For Geraghty is was his second win of the day.
Like most Champion Hurdles it was a fierce fight, and the fears expressed beforehand that Binocular, may not enjoy the Cheltenham Hil and that appeared to be evident a she simply could not find his customary speed at the end.
Celestial Halo ran a great race and can consider himself unlucky not to have been Paul Nicholls first Champion Hurdle winner. There was also great performances by Crack Away Jack who was finishing very quickly at the end as too was the 2008 winner Katchit who finished a creditable sixth.