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Cheltenham Festival: The Ultimate Guide - 2021-03-05

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Last year’s heroine can land prize again

TUESDAY 3.05 UNIBET CHAMPION HURDLE

JAMES HILL

Just three winners had not recorded a top-two finish last time out in the last 31 years This is by far the strongest trend and I’d rule out any runner who does not meet it. The best trials in Britain for the Champion Hurdle in recent times have been either the Fighting Fifth or Christmas Hurdle. In the last ten years, all the home-trained winners ran in one of these contests. For Irish-trained runners, not surprisingly, it’s the Leopardstown Grade 1s where the winner tends to come from. This year many of us see the Champion as being a battle of the mares, but the strongest pointer is that last year’s winner Epatante is owned by JP Mcmanus. Since 2014, Mcmanus has claimed as many as eight of the 14 winners and seconds; that’s more than half. Verdict In terms of trends, those Mcmanus silks could be winning again with Epatante. Last year’s winner has run in the key trials in Britain this term, is owned by Mcmanus and trained by Nicky Henderson, who himself has won this race eight times. Epatante was beaten last time out, but a 2 next to your selection’s name is acceptable.

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Cheltenham - The Ultimate Guide

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