Champion Hurdle Tips and Betting Offers, Cheltenham Festival Day One, 12th March 2019

The Cheltenham Festival returns this Tuesday and it’s the Champion Hurdle that takes centre stage on the opening day of the famous meeting. The £450,000 valued event is the most prestigious hurdles race on the National Hunt circuit and serves as the final leg of the Triple Crown of Hurdling. Two-time champion Buveur d’Air is back to defend his crown another win would see him become the first horse since Istabraq to claim a rare hat-trick.

The Grade 1 Champion Hurdle once again retains its crown as the most highly valued hurdle event on the racing calendar. The two mile and half a furlong race has seen its prize money bumped up with the winner now receiving over £250,000.

Here is our betting preview ahead of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, along with our top tip.

Champion Hurdle Tip

Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  • Apple’s Jade To Win at 2/1 with Ladbrokes

We’ve also got betting tips and previews of the other three Championship races at the Cheltenham Festival:

Champion Hurdle Betting Offers, Free Bets and Enhanced Odds Offers

The betting offers and enhanced odds promotions for the Cheltenham Festival have started to roll in from the top bookies, and here we’ll give you the details of those related to the feature race of day one: the Champion Hurdle.

  • 50/1 on Buveur d’Air – subject to Ts and Cs, 18+, new customers can get Buveur d’Air at an enhanced 50/1 to win Champion Hurdle. Max stake £1. Winnings paid in free bets, valid for 7 days, only deposits with cards/Paypal count. Exchange and multiple bets excluded. T&C’s Apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
  • More offers to follow nearer the race…

Tips and Preview

It seems only fair to begin by taking a look at the defending champion, Buveur d’Air (5/2, William Hill). His victory in last year’s event was far harder than expected but heavy going certainly played its part in that. Nicky Henderson also claimed that his star hurdler was also feeling under the weather having been housed next to an ill-horse the day prior. It seems safe to assume he’ll clock a considerably faster time even though he’s not enjoyed his best season over the hurdles.

Things began well enough for the now eight-year-old with a win in the Fighting Fifth hurdle. He did catch the final obstacle but was so far ahead it ended up having no impact on the race. A far more serious error in the Christmas Hurdle did deny him victory however, ending an 11 race winning streak for the gelding. Henderson opted against having him make amends in the Irish Champion Hurdle, instead opting for a much easier test at Sandown. There he secured a return to winning ways but this was always going to be the case against distinctly inferior opposition.

By avoiding the Irish Champion Hurdle, Henderson missed out on the chance to see how Buveur d’Air fared against Apple’s Jade (2/1, Ladbrokes). The seven-year-old mare was one of the six horses involved at Leopardstown as Gordon Elliot assessed her options for the Festival. A stunning display that day was enough to persuade her trainer that she has what it takes to secure glory in the British equivalent. In many ways the 16 length win came as little surprise given the incredible form she’s been in and her ability to perform across almost any distance.

Having proven her quality over two miles, a revitalised looking Apple’s Jade can make up for last year’s Festival disappointment. She may find herself pressed by fellow mare Laurina (4/1, Betfair) but the Willie Mullins’ contender is unlikely to follow her all the way. Plenty of promise has been shown by the six-year-old who remains unbeaten since switching stables. Her trainer has been optimistic regarding her chances but it’s important to remember how much tougher this test is than anything she’s faced before. This is only the mare’s fourth graded start, making her rather inexperienced compared to previous Champion Hurdle winners. That said, she’s the one for us here, with 2/1 looking very tidy.