Horse Racing Tips: Champion Hurdle Predictions, Preview and Best Bets For Cheltenham Festival

The Champion Hurdle stands as one of the most prestigious events in the National Hunt racing calendar, a pinnacle of speed and agility over hurdles, demanding unparalleled skill from both horse and jockey.

Scheduled for the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, March 12th, at 3:30 pm, this year’s race promises an enthralling contest, with the absence of last year’s victor, Constitution Hill, setting the stage for a new champion to emerge. Read on to find our complete preview and best bets on the Champion Hurdle.


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Champion Hurdle Preview, Predictions And Best Bets

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Champion Hurdle Best Bets

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The Absence of Constitution Hill

In a turn of events that has sent ripples through the racing community, Nicky Henderson, the seasoned trainer of Constitution Hill, has withdrawn the reigning champion from the race. Despite a glittering career punctuated by consecutive Grade 1 victories, the horse encountered health issues, with a troubling scope revealing mucus and a significant inflammation indicated by blood tests. Despite some improvement, the decision was made to prioritise the horse’s long-term well-being, leaving the field wide open for this year’s contenders.

Contenders Rising to the Fore

In the wake of Constitution Hill’s withdrawal, the spotlight shifts to State Man, trained by Willie Mullins, now the bookmakers’ favourite. With a track record of nine wins in twelve starts and a notable victory at Leopardstown, State Man is poised as a formidable force. However, the race is far from a foregone conclusion, with Irish Point and Lossiemouth among others, also vying for the title in what promises to be a competitive field.

State Man: The New Favourite

State Man, having finished second to Constitution Hill in the previous year, now steps into the limelight as the leading contender. His impeccable form, culminating in a dominant win at Leopardstown, underscores his readiness for the Champion Hurdle challenge. With a blend of speed and endurance, State Man represents a synthesis of racing excellence, making him the one to watch in the upcoming contest.

Irish Point: The Dark Horse

Amid the favourites, Irish Point, trained by Gordon Elliot, emerges as a compelling dark horse, boasting an impressive portfolio of six wins from eleven starts. His decisive victory at Leopardstown, where he outclassed the competition, marks him as a strong contender. With a history of consistent performance and a knack for surmounting the hurdles at Cheltenham, Irish Point is poised to make a significant impact.

Predictions for the Champion Hurdle


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The Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham is a stage set for drama, where every jump, every stride, can tilt the scales of fortune. In this arena, form, fitness, and the caprices of the day’s weather weave a complex narrative, often defying the prognostications of pundits and punters alike. This year, with the absence of the reigning monarch, Constitution Hill, the plot thickens, inviting a new protagonist to ascend the throne.

Irish Point: The Value Bet

Amid the favourites, Irish Point emerges not just as a contender, but as the embodiment of value in this year’s Champion Hurdle. Trained by Gordon Elliott, this six-year-old has a record that commands respect, with victories that speak to his prowess and potential. His performance at Leopardstown, where he left the field trailing in his wake, was a masterclass in hurdling, showcasing his ability to dominate a competitive field.

The odds on State Man, while reflective of his undeniable talent, offer little in the way of value for the astute bettor. The Champion Hurdle, with its history of upsets and surprises, calls for a wager that balances risk with the prospect of a handsome return. In this context, Irish Point presents an enticing proposition. His odds, more generous than those of the favourite, coupled with his proven track record and potential for growth, make him a compelling main bet for those looking to back a winner with both performance and price in mind.

Not So Sleepy: The Each-Way Proposition

In the shadow of the favourites, Not So Sleepy stands as an intriguing each-way bet. This veteran of the hurdling scene has shown flashes of brilliance that hint at the possibility of a podium finish. Known for his spirited performances and the ability to spring a surprise, Not So Sleepy embodies the essence of horse racing’s unpredictability. His odds, reflective of his outsider status, belie the potential for an each-way steal, offering punters the chance to back a horse with the capability to defy expectations and deliver a performance that belies his price.

Not So Sleepy, a 12-year-old chestnut gelding, presents an intriguing narrative in the world of National Hunt racing. Trained by Hughie Morrison, this seasoned campaigner has demonstrated a commendable blend of resilience and flair across both flat and jumps racing. With a lineage tracing back to Beat Hollow and Papillon De Bronze, Not So Sleepy carries a heritage of stamina and agility, making him a unique participant in any race he enters.

The Racing Journey: A Testament to Versatility

Not So Sleepy’s career is a mosaic of achievements and hard-fought battles. On the jumps, his record boasts a series of placings that highlight his competitive spirit: a testament to his ability to challenge the field across various conditions. His most notable victory came at Ascot in December 2020, where he triumphed in a Grade 1 hurdle, showcasing his ability to perform at the highest level.

On the flat, Not So Sleepy has shown commendable consistency, with a history of placings that underscore his versatility and adaptability to different racing formats. His win at Newbury in September 2023, against a robust field, further cements his reputation as a horse with the heart and capability to succeed against stiff competition.

The Champion Hurdle: A Stage for the Underdog

Entering the Champion Hurdle, Not So Sleepy embodies the spirit of the underdog. His seasoned experience, coupled with a proven track record of facing and overcoming challenges, positions him as a horse capable of delivering a performance that belies his outsider status. His victory at Sandown in December 2023, where he outperformed the field in heavy conditions, is a stark reminder of his prowess and the potential for an upset.

The rationale for selecting Not So Sleepy as an each-way bet in the Champion Hurdle is anchored in his demonstrated ability to rise to the occasion. His performances, particularly in high-grade races, reveal a competitor who thrives under the pressure of elite competition. Moreover, his versatility, having excelled on both flat and jumps, adds an intriguing dimension to his candidacy. It suggests an adaptability and resilience that could well translate into a surprising performance in the unpredictable arena of the Champion Hurdle.

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John Pentin
Born and raised in London, John has always been in love with sport. He started successfully his own blog back in 2006, while writing for football in several newspaper. John has also worked with several betting operators as sports trader and has joined since the start in 2013. John is now head of the content team at