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Unibet Champion Hurdle
Grade 1, Cheltenham 15:30
£450,000 added,
4yo plus,
2m 87y, Class 1  
Tuesday 12th March 2019

The reigning champion Buveur D’Air stars among 27 entries, up from 23 last year, for the G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle.

Buveur D'Air
© Racehorse Photos
Buveur D'Air
 
Buveur D'Air (Nicky Henderson) has captured the two most recent renewals of the two-mile hurdling championship, worth £450,000, and is trying to become the sixth three-time winner of the Unibet Champion Hurdle since the race's inception in 1927. 
 
The eight-year-old is out to emulate Hatton's Grace (1949, 1950, 1951), Sir Ken (1952, 1953, 1954), Persian War (1968, 1969, 1970), See You Then (1985, 1986, 1987) and Istabraq (1998, 1999, 2000).
 
Buveur D'Air, successful in 11 of his 13 starts over hurdles, looked as good as ever on his comeback this term when routing Irish hope Samcro (Gordon Elliott IRE) by eight lengths in the G1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on December 1. 
 
However, he suffered a shock short-head defeat at the hands of stablemate Verdana Blue (Nicky Henderson) in the G1 Unibet Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on December 26.
 
Nicky Henderson, with seven successes, has the best record of any trainer ever in the history of the Unibet Champion Hurdle. The six-strong team from Britain's champion Jump trainer also features G2 Unibet International Hurdle victor Brain PowerCall Me LordCharli Parcs and We Have A Dream, who was a leading juvenile last season .
 
Laurina
© Caroline Norris
Laurina
 
Ireland's champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins is responsible for five of the 12 Irish-trained entries, with his quintet headed by last year's neck runner-up Melon and rising star Laurina, who was a facile 18-length winner of the G2 Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle at The Festival™ presented by Magners in 2018.
 
The Mullins' hand is completed by Galway Hurdle scorer Sharjah, who has since bolstered his CV with G1 triumphs at Punchestown and Leopardstown, Cilaos Emery and Saldier.

Trainers Quotes

His main rival in Ireland, Gordon Elliott, has Samcro and outstanding racemare Apple's Jade among his four entries. Last season's JCB Triumph Hurdle hero Farclas and Tombstone are also engaged for the County Meath handler. 
 
Espoir D'Allen
© Caroline Norris
Espoir D'Allen

Gavin Cromwell could have his first Unibet Champion Hurdle runner courtesy of Espoir D'Allen, who like Buveur D'Air is owned by JP McManus, the most successful owner in Unibet Champion Hurdle history with seven victories.

Espoir D'Allen has been successful on six of his seven starts over hurdles, with a 100 per cent record so far this season. The five-year-old started the campaign with victory in the G3 Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas in November before registering an impressive eight-length success in the G3 Irish Independent Hurdle at Limerick over Christmas.

The County Meath-based Cromwell said: "Espoir D'Allen is in good form and we are happy with him.
 
"He will run next week in the G3 Limestone Lad Hurdle [Naas, January 27], and has been given an entry in the Champion Hurdle.
 
"We will have to see whether he runs in that race at Cheltenham or elsewhere.
 
"Five-year-olds don't have a great record in the Champion Hurdle, but he is showing the right signs.
 
"We will see how he gets on at Naas first."
 
Supasundae
© Caroline Norris
Supasundae

The remaining Irish entries are the two most recent winners of the G1 Irish Champion Hurdle in Supasundae (Jessica Harrington IRE) and Petit Mouchoir (Henry de Bromhead IRE).
 
Improving grey Silver Streak (Evan Williams) has made great strides over hurdles this season. After a decisive victory in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las in October, the six-year-old ran twice at Cheltenham, going down by a neck in the G3 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at The November Meeting and filling the same position behind Brain Power in the G2 Unibet International Hurdle at The International on December 15.
 
Silver Streak
© Racehorse Photos

Silver Streak
Four greys have won the Unibet Champion Hurdle, the most recent being Rooster Booster in 2003.
 
Evan Williams, whose stables are in the Vale of Glamorgan, said: "Silver Streak is in good form and came out of his second in the International well.
 
"He has enjoyed a great season, with some excellent performances, and has run to a good level. 
 
"I think we will probably run in the Unibet Champion Hurdle. You never know what will happen in these races. 
 
"We are not going there thinking we will win it, but although it is a long shot, we will give it a go. 
 
"Hopefully, there is more improvement to come and better ground is something that suits him. 
 
"He will have a run before Cheltenham in one of the Champion Hurdle trials."
 
Other entries in the Unibet Champion Hurdle include high-class stayer Wholestone (Nigel Twiston-Davies), third in last season's G1 Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle and 2018 G3 Randox Health County Hurdle victor Mohaayed (Dan Skelton).

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
£469,440 added, 4yo plus, 2m 87y, Class 1
27 entries
Scratchings deadline February 12, £22,500 supplementary stage & six-day confirmation stage March 6, final declaration 10.00am, March 10, maximum number of runners 26.

Form Horse Age Weight Trainer
133-111 Apple's Jade (FR) 74 7 11-3 G Elliott
UF2F-41 Brain Power (IRE) 87 8 11-10 N J Henderson
1111-12 Buveur D'Air (FR) 76 8 11-10 N J Henderson
31321-7 Call Me Lord (FR) 80 6 11-10 N J Henderson
80-5692 Ch'tibello (FR) 94 8 11-10 D Skelton
200P4-0 Charli Parcs (FR) 114 6 11-10 N J Henderson
1251/42- Cilaos Emery (FR) 438 7 11-10 W P Mullins
1114-11 Espoir D'Allen (FR) 74 5 11-10 G P Cromwell
2215-6F Farclas (FR) 74 5 11-10 G Elliott
116-214 Global Citizen (IRE) 76 7 11-10 B Pauling
2/1111-1 Laurina (FR) 66 6 11-3 W P Mullins
650410 Man Of Plenty 80 10 11-10 Mrs S Leech
1352F-4 Melon 73 7 11-10 W P Mullins
231-471 Mohaayed 80 7 11-10 D Skelton
12324-6 Petit Mouchoir (FR) 73 8 11-10 H De Bromhead
4013/45 Pingshou (IRE) 94 9 11-10 C L Tizzard
1531-F Saldier (FR) 122 5 11-10 W P Mullins
11F-225 Samcro (IRE) 73 7 11-10 G Elliott
6-31311 Sharjah (FR) 73 6 11-10 W P Mullins
U6-1122 Silver Streak (IRE) 87 6 11-10 Evan Williams
1221-22 Supasundae 73 9 11-10 Mrs J Harrington
6-51303 Tombstone (IRE) 73 9 11-10 G Elliott
00-1141 Verdana Blue (IRE) 76 7 11-3 N J Henderson
22-U235 Vision Des Flos (FR) 87 6 11-10 C L Tizzard
111-344 We Have A Dream (FR) 87 5 11-10 N J Henderson
265-533 Western Ryder (IRE) 80 7 11-10 W Greatrex
323-152 Wholestone (IRE) 70 8 11-10 N A Twiston-Davies

CHAMPION HURDLE PREVIOUS RESULTS

2018-WINNER- BUVEUR D’AIR 7-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-4/6 Fav
2ND-Melon 6-11-10 Owner-Mrs Joe Donnelly; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Paul Townend; SP-7/1
3RD-Mick Jazz 7-11-10 Owner-George Mahony; Trainer-Gordon Elliott IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-25/1
11 ran, Time-4m 5.00s; Dist-nk, 3

2017-WINNER-BUVEUR D’AIR 6-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Noel Fehily; SP-5/1 2ND-My Tent Or Yours 10-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Aidan Coleman; SP-16/1
3RD-Petit Mouchoir 6-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Henry de Bromhead IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-6/1 11 ran, Time-3m 50.90s; Dist-41⁄2, 3 2/1 Fav Yanworth (Disqualified from 7th – banned substance in sample)

2016-WINNER-ANNIE POWER 8-11-03 Owner-Susannah Ricci; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-5/2 Fav
2ND-My Tent Or Yours 9-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-10/1
3RD-Nichols Canyon 6-11-10 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Paul Townend; SP-15/2
12 ran, Time-3m 45.10s (new record); Dist-41⁄2, hd

2015-WINNER-FAUGHEEN 7-11-10 Owner-Susannah Ricci; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-4/5 Fav
2ND-Arctic Fire 6-11-10 Owner-Wicklow Bloodstock Limited; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Danny Mullins; SP-20/1
3RD-Hurricane Fly 11-11-10 Owner-George Creighton & Rose Boyd; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Paul Townend ; SP-8/1
8 ran, Time-3m 50.90s; Dist-11⁄2, 5

2014-WINNER-JEZKI 6-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Jessica Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-9/1
2ND-My Tent Or Yours 7-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-3/1
3RD-The New One 6-11-10 Owner-Sarah Such; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Sam Twiston-Davies; SP-10/3
9 ran, Time-3m 45.25s (new record); Dist-nk, 2½ 11/4 Fav Hurricane Fly (4th)

2013-WINNER- HURRICANE FLY 9-11-10 Owner-George Creighton & Rose Boyd; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-13/8 Fav
2ND-Rock On Ruby 8-11-10 Owner-The Festival Goers; Trainer-Harry Fry; Jockey-Noel Fehily; SP-11/2
3RD-Countrywide Flame 5-11-10 Owner-Estio Pinnacle Racing; Trainer-John Quinn; Jockey-Denis O’Regan; SP-16/1
9 ran, Time-3m 59.35s; Dist-2½, 1¾

2012-WINNER-ROCK ON RUBY 7-11-10 Owner-The Festival Goers; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Noel Fehily; SP-11/1
2ND-Overturn 8-11-10 Owner-Tim Leslie; Trainer-Donald McCain; Jockey-Jason Maguire; SP-20/1
3RD-Hurricane Fly 8-11-10 Owner-George Creighton & Rose Boyd; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-4/6 Fav
10 ran, Time-3m 50.10s; Dist 3¾, 1¾

2011-WINNER-HURRICANE FLY 7-11-10 Owner-George Creighton & Mrs Rose Boyd; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-11/4 Fav
2ND-Peddlers Cross 6-11-10 Owner-Tim Leslie; Trainer-Donald McCain; Jockey-Jason Maguire; SP-9/2
3RD-Oscar Whisky 6-11-10 Owner- Walters Plant Hire Ltd; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/1
11 ran, Time-3m 53.71s; Dist 11⁄4 , 5

2010-WINNER-BINOCULAR 6-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-9/1
2ND-Khyber Kim 8-11-10 Owner-Caroline Mould; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Paddy Brennan; SP-7/1
3RD-Zaynar 5-11-10 Owner- Men In Our Position; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Andrew Tinkler; SP-15/2
12 ran, Time-3m 53.80s; Dist-3½, 6 11/4 Fav Go Native (10th)

2009-WINNER-PUNJABI 6-11-10 Owner-Raymond Tooth; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-22/1
2ND-Celestial Halo 5-11-10 Owner-The Stewart Family; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-17/2
3RD-Binocular 5-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-6/4 Fav
23 ran, Time-4m 0.90s; Dist- nk, hd

2008-WINNER-KATCHIT 5-11-10 Owner-D S J P Syndicate; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-10/1
2ND-Osana 6-11-10 Owner-Thomas Barr; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Tom Scudamore; SP-9/2
3RD-Punjabi 5-11-10 Owner-Raymond Tooth; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-25/1
15 ran, Time-4m 8.10s; Dist-1, 5 2/1 Fav Sizing Europe (14th)

2007-WINNER-SUBLIMITY 7-11-10 Owner-Bill Hennessy; Trainer-John Carr IRE; Jockey-Philip Carberry; SP-16/1
2ND-Brave Inca 9-11-10 Owner-Novices Syndicate; Trainer-Colm Murphy IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-11/2
3RD-Afsoun 5-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-28/1
10 ran, Time-3m 55.70s; Dist-3, nk 6/4 Fav Detroit City (6th)

2006-WINNER-BRAVE INCA 8-11-10 Owner-Novices Syndicate; Trainer-Colm Murphy IRE; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/4 Fav
2ND-Macs Joy 7-11-10 Owner-Mac’s J Racing Syndicate; Trainer-Jessica Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-13/2
3RD-Hardy Eustace 9-11-10 Owner-Lar Byrne; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Conor O’Dwyer; SP-11/2
18 ran. Time-3m 50.00s; Dist-1, 3½

2005-WINNER-HARDY EUSTACE 8-11-10 Owner-Lar Byrne; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Conor O’Dwyer; SP-
7/2 Jt Fav
2ND-Harchibald 6-11-10 Owner-Des Sharkey; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-7/1
3RD-Brave Inca 7-11-10 Owner-Novices Syndicate; Trainer-Colm Murphy IRE; Jockey-Barry Cash; SP-10/1
14 ran, Time-3m 51.50s; Dist-nk, nk 7/2 Jt Fav Back In Front (9th)

2004-WINNER-HARDY EUSTACE 7-11-10 Owner-Lar Byrne; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Conor O’Dwyer; SP-33/1
2ND-Rooster Booster 10-11-10 Owner-Terry Warner; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-11/8 Fav
3RD-Intersky Falcon 7-11-10 Owner-Interskyracing.com & Jacqui O’Neill; Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Liam Cooper; SP-8/1
14 ran, Time-3m 54.50s; Dist-5, 4

2003-WINNER-ROOSTER BOOSTER 9-12-00 Owner-Terry Warner; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-9/2
2ND-Westender 7-12-00 Owner-Matt Archer & Jean Broadhurst; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Rodi Greene; SP-33/1
3RD-Rhinestone Cowboy 7-12-00 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-5/2
Fav 17 ran, Time-3m 54.70s; Dist-11, 3

2002-WINNER-HORS LA LOI III 7-12-00 Owner-Paul Green; Trainer-James Fanshawe; Jockey-Dean Gallagher; SP-10/1
2ND-Marble Arch 6-12-00 Owner-Martin Wilson, Rory Sweet and Mary Wilson; Trainer-Hughie Morrison; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-25/1
3RD-Bilboa 5-11-09 Owner-Jorg Vasicek; Trainer-Francois Doumen FR; Jockey-Thierry Doumen; SP-14/1
15 ran, Time-3m 53.80s; Dist- 3, ½ 2/1 Fav Istabraq (pu)

2001 Cancelled

2000-WINNER-ISTABRAQ 8-12-00 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-8/15 Fav
2ND-Hors La Loi III 5-12-00 Owner-Paul Green; Trainer-Francois Doumen FR; Jockey-Dean Gallagher; SP-11/1
3RD-Blue Royal 5-12-00 Owner-Lynn Wilson; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-16/1
12 ran, Time-3m 48.10s; Dist-4, nk

1999-WINNER-ISTABRAQ 7-12-00 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-4/9 Fav
2ND-Theatreworld 7-12-00 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Tommy Treacy; SP-16/1 3RD-French Holly 8-12-00 Owner-Kieran Flood; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Andrew Thornton; SP-11/2
14 ran, Time 3m 56.7s; Dist-3½, 2½

1998-WINNER-ISTABRAQ 6-12-00 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-3/1 Fav
2ND-Theatreworld 6-12-00 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Tommy Treacy; SP-20/1
3RD-I’m Supposin 6-12-00 Owner-Nicholas Cooper; Trainer-Richard Rowe; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-6/1
18 ran, Time 3m 49.1s; Dist-12, 1

1997-WINNER-MAKE A STAND 6-12-00 Owner-Peter Deal; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/1
2ND-Theatreworld 5-12-00 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-33/1
3RD-Space Trucker 6-12-00 Owner-Elaine Queally; Trainer-Jessica Harrington IRE; Jockey-John Shortt; SP-9/2
17 ran, Time-3m 48.4s, Dist-5, ¾ 7/2 Fav Large Action (pu)

1996-WINNER-COLLIER BAY 6-12-00 Owner-Wally Sturt; Trainer-Jim Old; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-9/1
2ND-Alderbrook 7-12-00 Owner-Ernie Pick; Trainer-Kim Bailey; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-10/11 Fav
3RD-Pridwell 6-12-00 Owner-Jones, Berstock and Fleet Partnership; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Chris Maude;
SP-33/1 16 ran, Time-3m 59.0s, Dist-2½, 6

1995-WINNER-ALDERBROOK 6-12-00 Owner-Ernie Pick; Trainer-Kim Bailey; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-11/2
2ND-Large Action 7-12-00 Owner-Brian Stewart-Brown; Trainer-Oliver Sherwood; Jockey-Jamie Osborne; SP-4/1 Jt Fav
3RD-Danoli 7-12-00 Owner-Dan O’Neill; Trainer-Tom Foley IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-4/1 Jt Fav
14 ran, Time-4m 03.1s, Dist-5, 2