Champion Hurdle Profiles

Likely Field

There are 19 entries at the moment, and 2 of those, Call Me Lord (Henderson) and Pingshou (Tizzard), definitely won’t run.

It’s hard to imagine that Arcenfente (De Bromhead) or Bapaume (Mullins) would run on the day given just how poor their starts this season have been. Identity Thief (De Bromhead) probably hasn’t really earned his place here either with his run in the Irish Champion Hurdle.

The Champion Chase is probably the race for Min (Mullins) and Apples Jade (Elliott) will run in the Mares Hurdle according to Michael O’Leary. Yorkhill (Mullins) still has his options open but connections seem more likely to run him here than against Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair.

With 7 out of the picture, it leaves us with a potential field of 12:

  • Buveur D’Air
  • Ch’Tibello
  • Charli Parcs
  • Faugheen
  • John Constable
  • Melon
  • Mick Jazz
  • My Tent Or Yours
  • Wicklow Brave
  • Verdana Blue
  • Yorkhill

Buveur D’Air

  • Overall Record: 14 runs – 11 wins – 2 places
  • Cheltenham record: 2-1-1
    • 3rd in the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2016
    • Won the Champion Hurdle in 2017
  • In terms of jockeys, all 3 defeats came with Noel Fehily on board, but he is the jockey to have rode him the most times (7-4-2). Barry Geraghty is a perfect 5-5-0 and Aidan Coleman is 2-2-0.
  • He has a perfect record in small fields (7-7-0 in fields of 7 or less).
  • His defeats have all come in the spring (8-5-2 from February to April compared to 6-6-0 from November to January).
  • He has yet to lose at a right-handed track (4-4-0).
  • Realistically, Buveur D’Air isn’t a horse suited to profiling as his record is so strong in itself – the most significant point to take from this is that he has yet to lose in open hurdles (6-6-0) and has won on all of his last 9 starts. The aforementioned defeats were in two bumpers and the Supreme Novices Hurdle, so all of this has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Ch’Tibello

  • Overall Record: 12 runs – 2 wins – 4 places
  • Cheltenham record: 1-0-0
    • 4th in the grade 2 2m 1f International Hurdle last December.
  • He seems to be capable of running well on different types of ground – his wins have come on good to soft (1-1-0) and on heavy (2-1-0). 5-0-2 on good ground and 4-0-2 on soft.
  • Harry Skelton is the only jockey to have taken the reins (12-2-4).
  • He runs well when back out relatively quickly after his last start (5-1-3 when back out within 30 days compared to 6-1-1 after a longer break).
  • He seems to hit form at the end of the season (4-1-3 from February to May compared to 8-1-1 from October to January).
  • Both wins have come at left-handed tracks (7-2-1) but 5-0-3 going right-handed is a strong place record.
  • He seems to prefer flatter tracks – 5-2-1 on flat tracks, 5-0-3 on those described as having slight undulations and 2-0-0 on more undulating tracks.

Charli Parcs

  • Overall Record: 6 runs – 1 win – 1 place
  • Cheltenham record: 1-0-0
    • 6th in the Triumph Hurdle in 2017
  • He possibly prefers good ground – 3-1-0 on good, 2-0-1 on good to soft, 1-0-0 on soft.
  • Noel Fehily seems to be a plus (3-1-1). Aidan Coleman, Ned Curtis and Barry Geraghty are all 1-0-0 on him.
  • He has been unplaced on all starts in graded company (4-0-0).
  • His win and place both came in small fields (3-1-1 in fields of 11 or less compared to 3-0-0 in larger fields).
  • He probably runs well fresh (he finished 2nd on his first race this season after a break of 260 days and also won on his first ever start). His other 4 starts have all come after a break of 60 days or less (4-0-0).
  • His win and place both came towards the start of the season (this ties in with the last point). 3-1-1 in December, 3-0-0 later on in the season.

Faugheen

  • Overall Record: 16 runs – 13 wins – 2 places
  • Cheltenham record: 2-2-0
    • Won the Neptune Novices Hurdle in 2014
    • Won the Champion Hurdle in 2015
  • All of his defeats have been on softer ground (7-4-2 on soft or worse, 9-9-0 on good to soft or better).
  • Ruby Walsh has rode him more than any other jockey (11-10-1). The others have been Paul Townend (3-1-1), Patrick Mullins (1-1-0) and Emmett Mullins (1-1-0).
  • 2 of his defeats came when back out within 60 days of his last start (9-7-1, compared to 7-6-0 after a longer break).
  • Like Buveur D’Air, Faugheen isn’t suited to profiling as he has won on the majority of his starts. The key point is that he was unbeaten in his first 10 starts but his record in the last 3 seasons reads 6-3-2.

John Constable

  • Overall Record: 27 runs – 5 wins – 7 places (12 runs, 1 win and 5 places were on the flat so for the purpose of this profile, I’m dealing with his 15 runs, 4 wins and 2 places over hurdles).
  • Cheltenham record: 4-0-0
    • 17th in the 2m 1f grade 3 County Hurdle in 2016
    • 6th in the grade 3 2m½f Greatwood Handicap Hurdle in November 2016
    • 10th in a class 2 2m 1f handicap hurdle in January 2017
    • 6th in the grade 2 2m 1f International Hurdle in December 2017
  • There’s no real preference in terms of ground (6-2-1 on good, 9-2-2 on good to soft or worse).
  • Paul Moloney has been very successful on him (6-2-2), while Davy Russell has also done well (4-2-0). Leighton Aspell (1-0-0), C V Ring (3-0-0) and A Wedge (1-0-0) have yet to win on him.
  • He could have a preference for smaller fields (5-2-1 in fields of 11 or less compared to 10-2-1 in larger fields).
  • He may be better after a break (4-0-1 when back out within 30 days of his last start, 11-4-1 after a longer break).
  • He seems to run well towards the end of the season and into the summer (5-0-0 from October to December, 4-1-0 from January to March, 6-3-1 from April to July).
  • He has a strong record at right-handed tracks (5-3-0 compared to 10-1-2 going left-handed).
  • He’s 5-2-0 with a tongue tie, which he has worn on his last 5 starts over jumps (as well as once on the flat).

Melon

  • Overall Record: 6 runs – 2 wins – 2 places
  • Cheltenham record: 2-0-1
    • 2nd in the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2017
    • 3rd in the grade 2 2m 1f International Hurdle in December 2017
  • His wins have come on both good (1-1-0) and soft (3-1-0). 2-0-1 on anything between, so it’s hard to see any real preference.
  • Ruby Walsh has done well on him (4-2-2) while David Mullins hasn’t been as lucky (2-0-0).
  • He won on his debut and on his first run this season after a break of 192 days. His other runs have all come within 50 days of his last start (4-0-2).
  • It’s a very small sample size, but 2-1-1 on right-handed tracks is better than 4-1-1 going left-handed.

Mick Jazz

  • Overall Record: 11 runs – 3 wins – 4 places
  • Cheltenham record: 1-0-0
    • Pulled up in the grade 3 2m½f Greatwood Hurdle in November 2015.
  • He seems to be fairly versatile in terms of ground, having won on ground ranging from good (1-1-0) to soft (6-2-1). 4-0-3 on anything in between.
  • Jack Kennedy has a strong record (2-1-1) as does Barry Geraghty (1-1-0). Davy Russell’s 4-1-1 is worth noting. The other jockeys have been Keith Donoghue (1-0-1), Noel Fehily (2-0-1) and Sam Twiston-Davies (1-0-0).
  • He actually has a quite strong record in grade one races (4-1-2).
  • His form has improved since moving from Harry Fry (3-0-1) to Gordon Elliott (8-3-3).
  • His record is marginally better in larger fields – 4-1-2 in fields of 8 or more, 7-2-2 in fields of 7 or less.
  • Despite an October record of 1-1-0, he seems to get better throughout the season – 4-0-1 in November, 4-1-2 in December, 2-1-1 in February.

My Tent Or Yours

  • Overall Record: 24 runs – 9 wins – 12 places
  • Cheltenham record: 6-1-5
    • 2nd in the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2013
    • 2nd in the Champion Hurdle in 2014
    • 2nd in the Champion Hurdle in 2016
    • 2nd in the Grade 2 2m 1f International Hurdle in December 2016
    • 2nd in the Champion Hurdle in 2017
    • Won the International Hurdle last December
  • He may have a preference for a softer surface – 9-4-4 on soft or worse, compared to 14-4-8 on good to soft or better.
  • AP McCoy had a very strong record on him (12-8-4). Barry Geraghty has a strong place record on him (7-1-5), as does Aidan Coleman (3-0-3), while Noel Fehily has been less successful (2-0-0).
  • He may have a preference for larger fields – 8-4-4 with form of 12211212 in fields of 12 or more, compared to 16-5-8 with form of 121112233242221 in fields of 11 or less.
  • He has a particularly strong record after a break – 5-3-1 after at least 120 days off the track (he also won when fresh on his debut). 18-5-11 after a shorter break.
  • His win record is at its worst in March (5-0-5) and April (7-1-5). 3-2-0 in November and 6-3-2 in December, before probably peaking in January (1-1-0) and February (2-2-0).
  • His win strike rate would suggest a preference for right-handed tracks (8-5-1) but his place record going left-handed is very strong (16-4-11).

Wicklow Brave

  • Overall Record: 39 runs – 10 wins – 6 places (A number of these were on the flat so I’ll be focusing solely on his 20 runs, 7 wins and 1 place in National Hunt races).
  • Cheltenham record: 3-1-0
    • 6th in the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2014
    • Won the grade 3 2m 1f County Hurdle in 2015
    • 8th in the Champion Hurdle in 2017
  • He definitely handles soft ground – 10-4-0 on soft or worse, including 2-2-0 on heavy. 10-3-1 on anything better than soft proves that he can perform on a sounder surface too, however, and his success on the flat would back this up.
  • Patrick Mullins has a very strong record on him (7-4-1). Paul Townend (8-2-0), Ruby Walsh (4-1-0) and David Casey (1-0-0) are the others.
  • He has won a grade one race (the Irish Champion Hurdle at Punchestown last April). However, other than that he is 6-0-0 in grade 1’s and 2-0-0 in grade 2’s (3-1-0 in grade 3’s).
  • The season seems to start well (3-2-0 in September/October) but drops to 3-0-0 in November before picking up again (3-2-0 in January/February). 9-2-0 from March to May and 2-1-0 in July.
  • He has performed well on more undulating tracks, but 3-3-0 on flat tracks is worth noting.

Verdana Blue

  • Overall Record: 14 runs – 4 wins – 2 places
  • Cheltenham record: 2-0-0
    • 4th in the grade 2 2m 1f Mares Novices Hurdle at the festival in 2017
    • 3rd in a listed 2m 4½f mares novices hurdle in April 2017
  • She probably prefers good ground – 12-4-2 on good and good to soft, 2-0-0 on soft or worse.
  • A number of jockeys have rode her – Jeremiah McGrath (5-2-0), Nina Carberry (1-1-0), Nico De Boinville (2-1-1) and E P O’Brien (1-0-1) have all either won or placed. Rachel Blackmore, Daryl Jacob, Davy Russell, Katy Walsh and D L Queally are all 1-0-0.
  • She probably doesn’t like big fields (6-0-1 in fields of 16 or more). 8-4-1 in fields of 16 or less. This does include 2-0-0 in fields of 7 or less.
  • She seems to be at her best when back out relatively quickly after her last start (10-4-2 when back out within 60 days compared to 3-0-0 after a longer break).
  • Her combined record from November to February is 7-3-1, this drops to 4-0-0 from March to May. 2-1-1 in June/July and 1-0-0 in September.

Yorkhill

  • Overall Record: 13 runs – 9 wins – 1 place
  • Cheltenham record: 2-2-0
    • Won the Neptune Novices Hurdle in 2016
    • Won the JLT Novices Chase in 2017
  • He’s definitely versatile in terms of ground, with strong records ranging from 3-3-0 on good ground to 2-2-0 on heavy ground.
  • 2 of his 4 defeats have come with Paul Townend on board (3-1-0). The other 2 were under Ruby Walsh (8-6-1), while Patrick Mullins is 2-2-0.
  • 3 of his defeats came in small fields (7-4-1 in fields of 7 or less). 6-5-0 in fields of 8 or more.
  • 3 of his defeats came when back out within 40 days of his last start (6-3-1, compared to 7-6-0 after a longer break).
  • A key point about Yorkhill is that he tends to jump to the left, so isn’t suited by right-handed tracks. He’s actually just 6-4-0 going left-handed due to his two recent defeats at Leopardstown, but before that that record was 4-4-0 compared to 7-5-1 going right-handed.
  • Like Buveur D’air and Faugheen, it’s hard to take too much notice of this profile as his record is almost perfect on paper.

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