Verdana Blue won the 2018 Elite Hurdle for Nicky Henderson and Jerry McGrath.
Run over just shy of two miles, the Elite Hurdle is a seen as an early season indicator for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and you can view the latest odds for the race below.
Elite Hurdle Tips
Saturday 9th November 2019 @ 15:00
What is the Elite Hurdle?
Run over just shy of two miles, the Elite Hurdle is a Grade 2 contest held at Wincanton in November, and traditionally acts as an early season indicator for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Paul Nicholls has an excellent record at his local track, and has won this race on seven occasions - most recently with Irving in 2015.
What happened in the 2018 Elite Hurdle?
The field for the 2018 Elite Hurdle was headlined by If The Cap Fits and We Have A Dream - two promising novices from the previous season - and it was this pair, and the more-experienced mare Verdana Blue who dominated the market.
The betting proved to be informative, and this trio quickly began to dominate, before the front-running We Have A Dream was left behind late on, leaving If The Cap Fits and Verdana Blue to fight out the finish. The latter was always travelling powerfully, and in receipt of a sex allowance, she quickly put the race to bed under Jeremiah McGrath - winning by two and a quarter lengths. Verdana Blue would of course go on to taste Grade 1 success that season, causing a big shock by defeating the reigning Champion Hurdler Buveur d'Air to win the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton the following month.
Established in 1992, the Elite Hurdle was initially held at Cheltenham over slightly further than two miles, before being switched to Wincanton and its present distance in 1994. Although it is seen as an indicator for the Champion Hurdle, no horse has ever won the Elite Hurdle and then followed up at the Cheltenham Festival.
Who is the most iconic winner of the Elite Hurdle?
Several notable names have won the Elite Hurdle over the years, though the most recognisable is perhaps the Paul Nicholls-trained Azertyuiop, who won the race back in 2001. Azertyuiop would prove to be a more talented chaser than a hurdler, winning the Arkle Challenge Trophy in 2003, before following up in the Queen Mother Champion Chase a year later.
Are there any trials for the Elite Hurdle?
The Elite Hurdle is a traditional scene for a reappearance run, meaning that there are no trials as such for the race. It does however act as a platform to bigger and better things later in the season, and horses who take their chance in the Elite Hurdle tend to target races such as the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, the International Hurdle at Cheltenham, the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Hurdle.
Who is the most successful jockey in the Elite Hurdle?
The winning most jockey in the history of the Elite Hurdle is Daryl Jacob, with three wins. Jacob's three wins came courtesy of Celestial Halo (2011), Zarkandar (2012) and Sceau Royal (2016).
Who is the most successful trainer in the Elite Hurdle?
The joint-winning most trainer in the history of the Elite Hurdle is Paul Nicholls with seven wins. Nicholls' seven wins in the race came courtesy of Azertyuiop (2001), Santenay (2002), Perouse (2004), Celestial Halo (2009, 2011), Zarkandar (2012) and Irving (2015).