Champion Hurdle Tips: 2022 Betting Preview & Trends

Champion Hurdle Tips: 2022 Betting Preview & Trends
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The Champion Hurdle is the premier two-mile hurdle race in the British National Hunt season and the best horse racing betting sites see a flurry of betting activity for this Grade 1 contest on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. Punters are always keen to check out the latest Champion Hurdle tips and odds - which we've explored in detail below.

Champion Hurdle Tips

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The 2022 edition of this famous contest doesn’t have the depth, on paper at least, of an average year, but we still have tips worth checking out.

Ante-post Champion Hurdle odds are dominated by 2021 winner Honeysuckle, who benefits from the 7lb mares’ allowance and was an emphatic six-and-a-half length winner last year. She is officially the highest-rated of the 23 entries in 2022.

Epatante, third in 2021, is set to reoppose Honeysuckle having won Grade 1s over the festive period, but looks up against it against it if the Henry De Bromhead-trained mare turns up at the top of her game.

Champion Hurdle Runners in Focus

Here's an in-depth look at some of the leading contenders for the 2022 Champion Hurdle:

Reigning Champ Sets High Bar

There is only one place to start when it comes to 2022 Champion Hurdle betting tips and that is with reigning champion Honeysuckle.

You don't need to be an expert at reading the form to realise that the 8-year-old mare oozes class. She is a perfect 13-13 over hurdles, with nine of those wins coming at the highest level, and her performances over the last 12 months suggest that she is better than ever.

She was imperious in winning the Champion Hurdle by six-and-a-half-lengths in 2021, justifying her 11/10f starting price in stunning fashion, and she looks set to face a very similar set of rivals this time around.

It almost seems unfair that the best horse in the Champion Hurdle should get a 7lb allowance from her male rivals but such are the rules in open company. It means that any gelding running in the 2022 Champion Hurdle will need to run to a BHA Rating of 170+ if he’s to beat an on-song Honeysuckle. That’s a mammoth task.

As for Honeysuckle’s wellbeing, well she won the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse for the third year in succession in November and she is on course to defend her Irish Champion Hurdle crown at Leopardstown in February. If she manages a commanding victory in Dublin, her restrictive Champion Hurdle odds will tighten even further.

Appreciate It Tops the Champion Hurdle Tips List

Honeysuckle may look almost unbeatable but she won’t be everyone’s cup of tea at such short odds. There is one rival lurking among the entries that still has the potential to hit superstar status in his career and he tops our list of Champion Hurdle tips for those trying to find value while picking a winner.

That horse is Appreciate It, who won three Grade 1 hurdle races as a novice last season, the last of which was a stunning 24-length romp in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

The plan was to go novice chasing this term but a December setback forced connections into a change of plan and the 6-year-old will now stick to the smaller obstacles for the remainder of this campaign.

Appreciate It Wins the 2021 Supreme Novices' Hurdle

Appreciate It only has one Cheltenham Festival entry - the Champion Hurdle, so ante-post punters won’t be stung by him running in a different race, although it would be a worry if he turned up at Prestbury Park without a previous run this season. This is a hard race to win so it’s not the sort of gig you turn up to ring-rusty.

That being said, the manner in which he swatted away some talented rivals at last year’s Cheltenham Festival is impossible to forget and that form was put into context by Soaring Glory, who was 28 lengths behind Appreciate It at last year’s festival but got within two-and-a-half lengths of Epatante in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

The figure achieved by Appreciate It in the Supreme has been bettered only by Altior in the past decade, which in itself tells us he’s a top-notch horse. With more to come this year, he might just have the class to serve it up to Honeysuckle on the biggest stage of all.

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Don’t be Fooled by Epatante’s Kempton win

2020 Champion Hurdle winner Epatante advertised her wellbeing with a dominant win in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day. However, that four-runner affair was one of the weakest Grade 1 contests ever run in Britain given her three rivals all had official ratings in the 140s.

Epatante en route to winning the Christmas Hurdle

Epatante was in receipt of the 7lb mares’ allowance but there was only two lengths between herself and 140-rated runner-up Glory And Fortune, who could reoppose at Cheltenham. It was a long way off the sort of performance you'd expect from a Champion Hurdle winner.

Her trainer Nicky Henderson is reportedly very happy with the mare but a place looks like the best her backers can hope for.


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Champion Hurdle Odds

RunnerBetting OddsBet With
Honeysuckle8/13888sport
Appreciate It9/2William Hill
Teahupoo10/1bet365
Epatane18/1888sport
Adagio25/1BoyleSports
  • *Odds correct as of 14/03/2022 - For full latest odds head over to 888sport

Cheltenham Champion Hurdle Trends

  • Youth is not an advantage: Only Katchit (2008) and Espoir D'Allen (2019) have won the race as 5-year-olds since See You Then in 1985.
  • It’s not a race for golden oldies either: Only four horses over the age of eight have won the Champion Hurdle since 1951, the most recent of which was Hurricane Fly, a 9-year-old, in 2013.
  • Recent evidence is important: Every one of the last 20 Champion Hurdle winners had won a race within the previous 180 days.
  • Only the cream need apply: Since 2007, all bar two (Rock On Ruby and Espoir D’Allen) had already won at Grade 1 level. You need to be rated 160+ (10 of the last 12) but even more is required if any horse is going to concede 7lb to an outstanding mare like Honeysuckle.
  • Course form will always be king: 10 of the last 12 Champion Hurdle winners had a previous outing at Prestbury Park under their belt.
  • Champion Hurdle shocks are pretty rare: 25 of the last 28 winners were in the top six of Champion Hurdle betting odds. Five of the last seven favourites have won the race.

Recent Cheltenham Champion Hurdle Winners

YearWinner
2021Honeysuckle
2020Epatante
2019Espoir d'Allen
2018Buveur d'Air
2017Buveur d'Air
2016Annie Power
2015Faugheen
2014Jezki
2013Hurricane Fly
2012Rock on Ruby

Champion Hurdle Verdict

It’s easy to argue that the 2022 Champion Hurdle is an open and shut case and most Champion Hurdle betting tips will have Honeysuckle down as the banker of not only the opening day, but arguably the entire meeting.

Honeysuckle looks an obvious option for punters that like to employ a short-priced accumulator betting strategy at Cheltenham. Her credentials are flawless but it doesn’t feel right tipping up an 8/11 chance this far out from the race, especially when one of her rivals brings so much potential to the table.

APPRECIATE IT looked a superstar in his first season over obstacles, winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by a country mile, and although it’s a concern that things haven’t gone to plan this winter, he will surely be Honeysuckle’s biggest threat if Willie Mullins can get him to Cheltenham in A1 shape.

He’s a course and distance winner who has proved he can handle the big festival occasion and he’s got all the ability in the world, so don’t be surprised if this lightly-raced 6-year-old (priced at 6/1 with the best betting sites) gatecrashes the Honeysuckle party.

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