2022 Champion Hurdle Ante-Post Preview – Ad Snap up the 40/1 on Classy Gio
2022 Champion Hurdle Ante-Post Preview
Our expert has delved through the current state of play in the Champion Hurdle betting market, identifying a selection available at odds of 40/1! Check out their thoughts below, and why not also check out our Gold Cup ante-post article.
Champion Hurdle (Tuesday 15th March 2022)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is last year’s winner Honeysuckle who currently heads the market for the Champion Hurdle, with the star mare a general 7/4 shot to become the first horse since Buveur D’Air (2017, 2018) to land successive renewals of the day one feature.
She clearly warrants respect with no horse in training having able to get past her in 13 starts in points and over hurdles, but twice last season that sequence nearly came to an end, and Epatante showed last year how quickly horses who look unbeaten can turn vulnerable.
The main threat – according to the market at least – to Honeysuckle is Sharjah, who thrice finished behind Henry De Bromhead’s mare last season. He got closer to her on each occasion, however, and made an impressive seasonal reappearance in last weekend’s Morgiana Hurdle.
The concern to backers, however, is that his record at Cheltenham is currently 0-4, and despite finishing second in the last two Champion Hurdles he has never looked the strongest horse up the hill – at 12/1, there currently look better bets.
Both Ferny Hollow and Appreciate It would look big players if running here but both have more realistic targets over fences and therefore look risky ante-post propositions.
2020 winner Epatante reportedly had back issues last season and if those have been corrected she could prove a big player. That looks a big if, however, and it just seems too big a leap of faith at this stage to realistically put her up as a betting proposition.
No 5yo has won the Champion Hurdle since the ill-fated Espoir D’Allen, yet last year’s crop looked like an above average bunch and if there is a horse from that generation who looks capable of mixing it at the very top level then it could well be ADAGIO.
David Pipe’s charge is yet to finish out of the first two in his seven starts since joining current connections, landing the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow back in January.
He went on to occupy the runner-up berth in both the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival and the Grade 1 4-Y-O Hurdle at Aintree. At Cheltenham, Adagio was only beaten just over 3l, that was despite racing a little keenly and from a wider position than most of his rivals.
In the case of Aintree, it just looked as though those Cheltenham excursions had taken their toll on Adagio, he travelled powerfully into the race yet emptied quickly behind the Paul Nicholls trained Monmiral, who had bypassed Cheltenham in favour of Aintree.
Adagio reappeared in last month’s Greatwood Hurdle and ran a fine race off topweight to finish second to West Cork (who was receiving just under a stone). He was quite clearly the best horse in that race that day and it further enhanced his already impressive Cheltenham record.
The International Hurdle back at Prestbury Park next month is reportedly his next target and if he runs a big race in that contest surely the 40/1 currently available will looks a good spot of value in a race which – beyond the top 2 in the market – currently looks absolutely wide-open.