Champion Hurdle History

Phillip Carberry and Sublimity land The Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy Race on the first day of The Annual National Hunt Festival held at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 13, 2007, in Cheltenham, EnglandThe Cheltenham Champion Hurdle race is run on the first day of the annual Cheltenham Festival, held in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The race attracts tens of thousands of spectators who are eager to see if their Champion Hurdle bets have paid off.

The festival usually coincides with St Patrick’s Day and as such attracts a large Irish contingent.

The Cheltenham Champion Hurdle is the United Kingdom’s most prestigious short distance hurdles race and includes a total of eight hurdles to be cleared over a distance of 2 miles 110 yards. The race is Grade 1 rated and open to horses aged four years and above.

Early Cheltenham Champion Hurdle History

The Cheltenham Champion boasts a long and proud heritage, with the first race dating back to 1927. The winning horse of the inaugural race was Blaris, jockeyed by George Duller with Bill Payne as the trainer. The following year’s race was won by Brown Jack, with Bilbie Rees as jockey and Aubrey Hastings as the trainer.

In 1931 the Champion Hurdle could not take place due to unrelenting weather conditions. The race was then held for a decade before World War II caused the Cheltenham Festival to be abandoned in 1943 and 1944.

There were no further cancellations of the event subsequent to World War II until the new millennium. In 2001, the race had to be cancelled due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom.

Cheltenham Champion Hurdle Winner Fair One-eyed Wonder

The year 1963 will be forever etched into Chelteham Champion Hurdle history. That year marked the victory of one-eyed Winner Fair. The eight-year-old hurdler was trained by George Spencer in County Tipperary, Ireland. Spencer is father to champion flat jockey Jamie Spencer.