The Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious hurdling event of the year and highlight of Day 1 of the Festival.
Former winners include many legends of the sport such as multiple winners Persian War, Bula, Night Nurse, Sea Pigeon, See You Then and Istabraq.
CHAMPION HURDLE TRENDS
Unless the ground is riding very soft, the race is a real speed test with runners needing to travel strongly and jump well to still be in contention up the hill.
Three consecutive wins for mares (in addition to Annie Power in 2016), suggests their 7lb weight allowance is a significant factor.
Indeed, there were only two mares in the race in 2022 and they finished 1-2.
It is another race that has been kind to Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson in recent years, with the pair accounting for all but five of the last 13 winners.
It has also been good to leading owner JP McManus, who has won the race 9 times.
LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA
In 2022 defending champion Honeysuckle proved that she is one of the greatest jumps horses of the modern era.
The unbeaten mare has now won a remarkable 11 Grade 1's, including three straight at the Cheltenham Festival, all with Rachael Blackmore for trainer Henry de Bromhead:
Rachael Blackmore was the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle in 2021:
Epatante was an eighth Champion Hurdle winner for Nicky Henderson in 2020:
Espoir d'Allen left the field, including market leaders Apple's Jade and Laurina, trailing in 2019 after Buveur d'Air fell early:
Buveur d'Air retained his crown in 2018, albeit the odds-on shot was made to pull out all the stops to beat Melon by a neck:
He had started the 2016/17 season in novice chases, before being switched back to hurdles by Nicky Henderson:
Annie Power was only supplemented into the 2016 renewal a month beforehand, after her stablemate Faugheen was injured.
A beaten favourite at the two previous Festivals, including an infamous fall in the Mares' Hurdle, it was third time lucky:
'The Machine' Faugheen led home a 1-2-3 for Willie Mullins in 2015:
Jezki saw off My Tent Or Yours in a 1-2 for JP McManus in 2014:
The winner in 2011 and then third in 2012, Hurricane Fly regained his title in 2013: