Buveur D'Air Odds On For Champion Hurdle Glory But Melon Offers Each Way Value
The first championship race of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival takes centre stage at 3.30pm on Tuesday and all eyes will be on Buveur D'Air as Nicky Henderson's superstar bids to land back-to-back Champion Hurdle crowns...
- There have been 12 back-to-back winners of the Champion Hurdle
- Nicky Henderson has trained six winners of the Champion Hurdle
- Only two Champion Hurdle winners have been aged 10+
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|Tuesday - 3.30pm||Odds||Bets|
|Buveur D'Air to win Best Bet||4/7|
|Melon (each way)||16/1|
Buveur D'Air - Too Good
The reigning champion cruised to victory in this race twelve months ago and can become the thirteenth back-to-back winner of the Champion Hurdle since it was first run back in 1927. The 7-year-old - unbeaten in his last nine starts - has barely been troubled this season, winning all three outings with the minimum of fuss and exhibiting a wonderful hurdling style when landing the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdles.
It is difficult to look beyond the bookmakers' favourite and the 4/7 market leader (Unibet) can hand Henderson his seventh winner in this Grade 1 contest.
The Best Of The Rest
Faugheen, the 2015 Champion Hurdle, is bidding to become only the third horse to reclaim their crown after losing it, although it looks a big ask for Willie Mullins' 10-year-old to roll back the years and rediscover former glories.
Only two horses aged 10 and over have won the Champion Hurdle, with 13/2 looking a touch skinny.
The age trend is also against perennial bridesmaid, My Tent Or Yours, who has finished runner-up on no fewer than four occasions at Cheltenham Festival. Nicky Henderson's 11-year-old could offer each-way value at 20/1 though (Ladbrokes). UPDATE - My Tent Or Yours has been ruled out of the race on veterinary advice.
Speaking of each-way value, Melon should improve as the hood that was fitted for the Irish Champion Hurdle (and clearly didn't work) will be removed for this race Prestbury Park, where the 6-year-old was runner-up in the Supreme last year.
The likes of Sublimity, Jezki and Buveur D'Air have all won the Champion Hurdle after being beaten in the previous season's Supreme and Melon looks to be the pick of the rest at a tempting 16/1 (Bet Victor).
Meanwhile, the 2017 JLT winner, Yorkhill, is available at 16/1 following a hugely frustrating, and at times confusing, campaign.
Keep an eye out for Alan King's Elgin (20/1) after the 6-year-old was supplemented for this two-mile championship race following his victory in the Kingwell Hurdle - three Champion Hurdle winners have used the Kingwell as their final prep race before Festival success since 2002.