Horse racing fans are beginning to count down the days until the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, when the best horses, jockeys and trainers in the business will converge on the famous old racecourse for four days of high-quality racing action.
For many, Cheltenham is the first true sign that spring has sprung, and after the struggles and difficulties of the 12 months since last year’s Festival, it’s fair to say that we all need a pick-me-up, and this year’s Prestbury Park meeting promises just that.
Day one features the Champion Hurdle, which is always something of a curtain raiser as far as the Festival’s major races are concerned. It’s the perfect time for punters and tipsters to be analysing the Champion Hurdle odds, with less than a month to go until the action gets underway.
If you’re unsure how things are looking ahead of the Grade One race, read on, as we break down the latest odds for the Champion Hurdle.
Honeysuckle – 9/4
It’s fair to say that Honeysuckle needs little introduction. The Henry de Bromhead-trained mare has been making waves in National Hunt racing for the past couple of years, and still boasts an unbeaten record. That good spell of form means Honeysuckle is the slight favourite for the Champion Hurdle at 9/4, but going by the bookies’ odds, it could be a toss-up between any of the top three favourites.
While Honeysuckle’s record speaks for itself, it’s fair to say that the Champion Hurdle will be the biggest race of her career so far, but with Rachael Blackmore likely to be in the saddle, she’s definitely in with a shout.
Epatante – 3/1
Sitting behind Honeysuckle by a hair in the betting is last year’s Champion Hurdle victor Epatante, with trainer Nicky Henderson hoping to make it two in a row. At one stage, the defending champion had been the clear favourite to win the race this year, but the continued excellence of Honeysuckle, along with the rise of Goshen has meant that the mare has stiff competition.
Odds of 3/1 tell us that Epatante is highly fancied for victory, and if the close nature of the betting ahead of the Champion Hurdle is anything to go by, we’re in for a cracker on March 16th.
Goshen – 10/3
The other third of the well-fancied Champion Hurdle triumvirate is Goshen, who lately returned to form in some style by sensationally winning the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton. That victory has seen his price drop dramatically ahead of the Champion Hurdle, and the gelding is now to be found at odds of around 10/3 to win the day one showpiece.
It’s fair to say that Goshen sits as the rightful third favourite behind Honeysuckle and Epatante, but the 22-length victory at Wincanton proves that he has those kinds of strong winning performances in his locker.
Silver Streak – 12/1
A little bit further behind the top three is Silver Streak, sitting at odds of around 12/1 to win the Champion Hurdle. The eight-year-old earned a bit of a coup in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton by getting the better of Epatante, but it’s difficult to see the Evan Williams-trained horse repeating the trick in a race as tough as the Champion Hurdle.
That said, Silver Streak could prove to be a good outside bet in the Cheltenham racing tips, and going under the radar might just suit Williams and jockey Adam Wedge.