Champion Hurdle Betting Preview


State Man Champion Hurdle Betting Preview


The premier 2m hurdle of the British racing season takes centre stage on the opening day - a race which was supposed to provide the home team with an outstanding chance of getting off to a flyer. Alas, it is not to be, as following the late withdrawal of Constitution Hill, we now have a new odds-on favourite for the Champion Hurdle, hailing not from British shores but rather the County Carlow base of Willie Mullins.

Man’s Case Easy To State

Your new market leader isn’t quite as short as Constitution Hill had been, but he isn’t too far off it, with the 1/3 with Betfred representing one of the more generous prices on offer for State Man. Why so short? A glance at the form book reveals all.

State Man may have found Constitution Hill too good in the 2023 edition, but he has been mopping up every major prize on the other side of the Irish Sea, with his high cruising speed and push-button acceleration making him comfortably the second-best 2m hurdler in training. A tally of eight career Grade 1 wins is more than the rest of this field combined; he’s 10lbs clear of his nearest rival according to the official handicapper and, barring a mishap, is much the most likely winner.

Best of the Rest

Next in the betting – and the only other runner available at a single figure price – is the Gordon Elliott-trained Irish Point. At 11/2 with Betfred, he’s the popular each-way choice, and it’s easy to see why. Already a dual Grade 1 winner, this classy sort also picked up a Group 1 win on the flat - when mastering Il Est Francais, who now boasts claims to be Europe’s leading chaser. Those Grade 1 successes have come over further than this, but he’s a three-time winner at around this trip and should finish his race strongly.

The absence of Constitution Hill has forced Nicky Henderson into a rethink. The result of that contemplation being a late supplementary entry for Greatwood and Betfair Hurdle winner Iberico Lord. Whilst not in the same stratosphere as his illustrious stablemate, he is at least one of the most upwardly mobile contenders and will be ideally suited by the soft conditions. He’s a 10/1 chance with Betfred.

Moving down the list, we find Luccia, whose best form is on good ground, Neamon Lion, who goes on soft but has 18lb to find with the jolly, Not So Sleepy, who is 12 years of age, and Colonel Mustard, who is zero from two against State Man but has hit the frame three times in Grade 1 company.

Zarak The Brave (18/1 with Betfred) is more intriguing. Also hailing from the Mullins yard, he beat the talented Tellmesomethinggirl in good style at Naas in January and has twice performed with credit against the highly regarded Lossiemouth. Those efforts still leave him well short of the required standard, but the suspicion is that we may not have seen the best of him yet.

Best Bets

It’s hard to see past State Man from a win perspective, but that price of 1/3 hardly sets the pulse racing. As such, we prefer a couple of speculative punts to add a little interest to what may be a one-sided affair.

Firstly, given his record of placing in Grade 1 affairs, Colonel Mustard looks fairly priced at 6/1 to finish in the first three - if ridden sensibly to pick up the pieces.

For forecast players, take a chance that Iberico Lord may give the favourite the most to do. Unlike Irish Point, this JP McManus-owned runner has a win over course and distance to his name, and hails from the yard of nine-time winner of the race Nicky Henderson.

  • Colonel Mustard to finish in the Top 3 - 6/1 with Betfred
  • Straight Forecast - 1st State Man, 2nd Iberico Lord

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