Cheltenham Festival: 2019 Champion Hurdle Contenders

We’re now less than two months away from the 2019 Cheltenham Festival and excitement is building in the horse racing community. Arguably the biggest National Hunt racing event of the year in the United Kingdom, the best runners and riders will head to Prestbury Park with the intention of winning one of the most prestigious races on the calendar.

The showpiece race of the opening day is the Champion Hurdle. Tuesday is now known as Champion Day and fans have already started to place ante post bets on the winner of this particular race. Let’s take a look at a few of the leading contenders for the 2019 Champion Hurdle, including defending champion Buveur d’Air.



Buveur D’Air has won the last two renewals of Tuesday’s showpiece race at the Festival and he will take some stopping in his pursuit of a third success. With Barry Geraghty on board yet again, Buveur D’Air should be there or thereabouts as they enter the closing stages of the race.

Punters will be wary of taking the 2/1 for Buveur D’Air to prevail though. He was a beaten favourite at Kempton Park on Boxing Day before scraping past a weak field at Sandown. He is likely to find more at Prestbury Park but is by no means a certainty to win.

Odds: 2/1



Write Apple’s Jade off at your peril. She finished a disappointing third when odds on in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham last year but has since won four in a row. More impressively, the combined distance in these four victories is 73 lengths. And she’s beaten some pretty good horses in the process…

Gordon Elliott will be aiming Apple’s Jade at the Champion Hurdle despite Michael O’Leary refusing to rule out another effort at the Mares race. At her brilliant best, Apple’s Jade will be a tough nut to crack up against the boys.

Odds: 9/4



Laurina will head to Cheltenham with a record of five wins from five races – an impressive feat to say the least. She romped to a 48 length victory over her sole rival at Sandown last time out but question marks remain over the quality of her opponents. Unlike Apple’s Jade and Buveur D’Air, Laurina is yet to beat anyone of note.

Willie Mullins has won this race four times since 2011 and plenty of punters will be piling in on his runners at the Festival. Laurina will almost certainly feature at some point in the horse racing predictions on Betting.Betfair ahead of March’s meeting.

Odds: 5/1



The dark horse of the race. Verdana Blue emerged victorious against Buveur D’Air in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park but was that result simply a fluke? Only time will tell – we haven’t seen her on a racecourse since that triumph and punters will be keeping a close eye on any declarations in the coming weeks.

A prep run ahead of Cheltenham would be ideal. Verdana Blue is an inconsistent type but cannot be dismissed based on that effort on Boxing Day. If she emulates that performance, Apple’s Jade and Laurina will have their hands full.

Odds: 12/1

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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