Champion Hurdle Tips: Take on Honeysuckle with this value play
We are all set for a fascinating renewal of the 2022 Champion Hurdle on Tuesday afternoon, as reigning champion and unbeaten mare Honeysuckle bids for a second win in the opening day Championship showpiece, but there will be some lively challengers bidding for Grade 1 glory, and we preview the race here...
Fourteen wins from as many starts has rocketed Honeysuckle to stardom in recent years, and having won the 2020 Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, Henry De Bromhead's starlet returned in 2021 to launch to a six-length victory in the Champion Hurdle. Now looking to retain her crown, Honeysuckle will be a red-hot odds-on favourite for the 2m Grade 1 contest, and she lines up on the back of impressive wins in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle and Irish Champion Hurdle. Showing her customary turn of pace to pull clear of her rivals at Leopardstown last month, the eight-year-old will attempt to kick clear off the final bend on Tuesday, and it's going to be hard for any of her rivals to live with her, if she can produce her A game.
However, with such skinny odds available about her regaining her crown then she's most certainly not a betting proposition, and there could be far more attractive value alternatives for punters to get stuck into, in a race that will see ten contenders go to post.
There's a fascinating contender in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Appreciate It, who hasn't been seen on the track since bounding to an emphatic victory in last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle, and he's been installed as the 4/1 second favourite for this event. Unbeaten in all four of his hurdling starts to date, the eight-year-old's 24 length annihilation of the Supreme field 12 months ago was sensational, and it could be that he's the next superstar of the Mullins production line, but it's hard to gauge whether he is top class, so it's hard to fancy him with any great confidence on his seasonal reappearance.
Nicky Henderson's Epatante will attempt to regain the crown she won in 2020, and she warmed up for this year's contest with an impressive win over subsequent Betfair Hurdle winner Glory And Fortune in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. However, the 16/1 chance was beaten by over nine lengths last year, so it's hard to see her reversing the form with Honeysuckle.
There's at trio of exciting five-year-olds looking to make a name for themselves on the big stage, and one that lines up in the form of his life is the Gordon Elliott-trained Teahupoo, who was last seen storming to an 11-length win in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park. Still on the upgrade, Teahupoo is a 10/1 chance to claim Champion Hurdle glory, and he is sure to prove popular amongst each-way backers, but there could be a more attractive each-way proposition in the shape of David Pipe's ADAGIO, who is an eye-catching 20/1 chance, at the time of writing.
Not out the first two in his eight hurdle starts (three wins, five seconds), the Pond House inmate was a gallant runner-up in last season's Triumph Hurdle, and he continued his fine record at Cheltenham with a cracking second placed finish in the Greatwood Hurdle off top weight. Continuing his progression, the five-year-old was last seen just being edged out by Goshen in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, and that should get him primed for this task, and at 20/1 he warrants a real each-way look.
Zanahiyr is the other five-year-old taking his chance, but he was well beaten by Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle last time out, so it's hard to see him figure, while the others that will be looking to land a blow are the Ann Hamilton-trained Tommy's Oscar, who has won his last four outings, but this is a huge step up, while the aforementioned Glory And Fortune lines up on the back of a Betfair Hurdle win, but stepping out of handicap company will be tough.