2019 Champion Hurdle Betting Tips

The 2019 Champion Hurdle betting tips on Betting.org say Apple’s Jade, who is unbeaten this season, is fancied most for victory in the feature 2m Grade 1 contest on day one of the Cheltenham Festival; Tuesday, 12 March. Dual race winner and reigning champion Buveur D’Air and Laurina are both massive dangers, however, and command respect. Sharjah, meanwhile, is a major improver and stablemate of the latter, so appeals each-way. Our 2019 Champion Hurdle betting tips preview below has more on this.

William Hill logo
Odds
9/4
Selection
Apple's Jade
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Boylesports logo
Odds
5/2
Danger
Buveur D'Air
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Sportingbet logo
Odds
14/1
E/W
Sharjah
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Apple’s Jade just shades Champion Hurdle on adjusted ratings

Cheltenham Festival excitement reaches fever pitch as a vintage renewal of the Champion Hurdle headlines Tuesday’s card on the opening day (15:30). Apple’s Jade is unbeaten this season for trainer Gordon Elliott and owners Gigginstown House Stud, so she’s taken to follow-up on a Grade 1 hat-trick with yet another victory at the highest level.

This seven-year-old mare comes out 1lb and upwards clear of the field on adjusted ratings when taking into account the 7lb sex allowance she gets from the geldings. Many backers were stung by a shock defeat for Apple’s Jade in the Mares’ Hurdle here 12 months ago, but she hasn’t put a foot wrong this season.

Time and again connections have profited from the weight she gets from the boys, plundering the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse, then the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown and the Irish Champion Hurdle when dropping back in trip to 2m last time out. It doesn’t matter what distance Apple’s Jade has raced over, she’s ran out a wide-margin victor on all four of her starts this campaign.

With 10 Grade 1 victories under her belt, eight of which have been in open company, she is the most prolific winner of top class races in this 10-runner field. Gigginstown have never had a Champion Hurdle winner, but Apple’s Jade looks capable of ending that hoodoo here.

The only negative is her Cheltenham Festival record is one win in three. Given the huge wins she’s enjoyed throughout the season, however, Apple’s Jade may take some pegging back. She has the least questions to answer and therefore heads our 2019 Champion Hurdle betting tips.

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Buveur D’Air and Laurina obvious dangers

Standing in the path of Apple’s Jade are defending champ Buveur D’Air and fellow Irish raider Laurina. The former is bidding to become just the sixth horse in history to win three consecutive Champion Hurdles for Nicky Henderson and JP McManus.

Buveur D’Air ran two very different races in his previous successes here. The first saw him cruise clear of consistent yard stick and now retired stable companion My Tent Or Yours. When defending his crown 12 months ago, the eight-year-old was really made to work by Melon but he eventually prevailed by a neck.

While last year’s runner-up has disappointed since, Buveur D’Air had a wind op and put in an awesome display on reappearance in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. He faced another of Gigginstown’s highly-regarded sorts Samcro there and made that rival look very ordinary when leaving him for dead and scoring by eight lengths.

Henderson again aimed Buveur D’Air at the Hurdling Triple Crown, but he was touched off a short-head by re-opposing stable companion Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. He did make a mistake three out, but had to give that mare 7lb on a tight track.

Given the forecast soft going and return to a left-handed galloping track here, Buveur D’Air is well-fancied to reverse that form. Verdana Blue won’t relish cut in the ground like him and may not run at all with alternative targets during the All-Weather Finals at Lingfield also in mind.

While Buveur D’Air has since bounced back by winning the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown, that is his traditional prep race. He may be vulnerable to the mares that do act on a softer surface and thus faces no easy task in his hat-trick bid.

Laurina unexposed but making step up

Laurina, meanwhile, has won all six of her starts since joining Willie Mullins and now steps into open company for the first time. This six-year-old has been very impressive against fellow mares, romping to an authoritative win at this meeting 12 months ago in the Grade 2 Dawn Run.

Since then, Laurina easily made the step up to the highest level when scoring at Fairyhouse over further last Easter. She has been lightly-raced this season with connections swerving good ground. After winning a match around Sandown, she landed the Listed 2m 4f Quevega Hurdle at Punchestown.

This demands much more than either of her starts, but the way she has been handled suggested big things are expected. Ruby Walsh again rides Laurina, who is unexposed against the geldings and could be anything. A bold bid looks assured and the softer, the better for her.

Betting on Laurina is made for her potential rather than what she’s achieved. It would be no surprise to see her make the step up, however, as Mullins saddled another wonder mare in Annie Power to Champion Hurdle glory back in 2016.

Apple’s Jade has simply done more though, and has the stamina to be taken on up front. Our 2019 Champion Hurdle betting tips just side with her because of the weight she gets from Buveur D’Air and, for all both he and Laurina command tons of respect, the in-form mares are at an obvious advantage.

Sharjah gets each-way vote

Another Mullins mount in Sharjah has proved a real surprise package this season after markedly stepping up his form from last season. The six-year-old looks the obvious each-way alternative if one of the top three in the betting fails to fire.

Sharjah pulled off a 12/1 shock when landing the Galway Hurdle over the summer. Although then down the field in Flat staying handicaps, the Rich and Susannah Ricci owned gelding shaped better when back over hurdles at Down Royal before recording back-to-back Grade 1 successes.

He collared the mighty Faugheen before the last in the Morgiana at Punchestown and stayed on strongly up the run-in to score by 7 1/2 lengths. Sharjah then followed-up in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas when he capitalised on rivals – including the re-opposing Melon – disappointing.

Given that Grade 1 form he brings to the table, this improving horse appeals more than Henderson’s other two – Verdana Blue and Brain Power. Sharjah doesn’t have to prove he can make a big step up like fellow youngster Espoir D’Allen either, so completes our 2019 Champion Hurdle betting tips as the each-way selection.

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