Cheltenham Festival: Unibet Champion Hurdle

Whilst we’re still several days from the declarations stage, here at we’ll take a look at those that could feature prominently in the Champion Hurdle

Cheltenham Festival: Unibet Champion Hurdle
Cheltenham Festival: Unibet Champion Hurdle

We’re now just one week away from the start of the Cheltenham Festival and the feature race on day one has grabbed all the early headlines due to who is not running rather than who is. Last year’s Unibet Champion Hurdle winner, Constitution Hill has been odds-on to defend his title in all ante post markets for the past twelve months however, last week’s fears have been realised with trainer, Nicky Henderson confirming on Monday that the seven-time Grade 1 winner will miss the Cheltenham Festival. 

Constitution Hill’s absence has left last year’s runner-up, State Man as the new favourite whilst the likes of Irish Point and Lossiemouth could now be switched to the Champion Hurdle, throwing the ante post markets into complete chaos. Whilst we’re still several days from the declarations stage, here at we’ll take a look at those that could feature prominently in the Champion Hurdle next Tuesday, providing odds from race sponsors, Unibet.

State Man finished second to Constitution Hill in last year’s Champion Hurdle in a rare blemish on a very impressive CV. The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old has already registered eight Grade 1 wins in Ireland including a hat-trick of wins this season when landing the Morgiana Hurdle, Matheson Hurdle and Irish Champion Hurdle. Connections were expecting him to run Constitution Hill close this year so without last year’s winner, State Man is a red-hot favourite.

Cheltenham Festival: 2023 Unibet Champion Hurdle

State Man’s stablemate, Lossiemouth remains odds-on at 1/2 to win the Mares’ Hurdle but could switch to the Champion Hurdle as she eyes a third Grade 1 success. Winner of the Triumph Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, Lossiemouth impressed when returning to Cheltenham in January. The five-year-old defeated a strong field that included Love Envoi, Rubaud and First Street to land the Unibet Hurdle here at Cheltenham last time out.

Irish Point is currently 3/1 second favourite behind Teahupoo (9/4) for the Stayers’ Hurdle but he could also be switched to Tuesday’s feature race. Irish Point’s only previous run in the UK saw him land the Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle ahead of Kateira and Hermes Allen last April. In Ireland, Irish Point won a first Grade 1 hurdle race in December, landing the Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Irish Point wins Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hurdle

Away from the big three, there has been plenty of market support for Not So Sleepy recently and the latest betting suggests he could represent the UK’s best chance of winning the race. The 12-year-old is bidding to become the oldest ever Champion Hurdle winner and landed the Fighting Fifth Hurdle in December ahead of Love Envoi, You Wear It Well and Goshen.

Unibet Champion HurdleOdds
State Man2/5
Irish Point7/2
Luccia,  Not So Sleepy, Pied Piper, Zarak The Brave14/1
Nemean Lion16/1
Echoes In Rain20/1
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