This race run on the second or third Tuesday in March and is generally regarded as being THE two mile hurdle race of any season.
As its title suggests, the Stan James Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious hurdling event in the National Hunt calendar. Its list of winners features many of the most highly acclaimed hurdlers in the sport’s history.
The best two mile hurdlers tend to run in this contest for several consecutive years and many have either won it more than once, or have consistently been placed in the race.
In recent years Hurricane Fly, trained by Willie Mullins has won it twice (2011 & 2013) as well as being placed in the race too. Hardy Eustace won consecutive renewals in 2004 and 2005, and came 3rd in 2007.
Brave Inca won the race in 2006 and then finished second in 2007, while Punjabi came 3rd in 2008 before winning it in 2009, something that Binocular repeated in 2009 (3rd) and 2010 (winning).
In recent year’s Rock On Ruby won the race in 2012 and then finished second in 2013 – while My Tent of Yours has been second for the last two years – in 2015 to Faugheen and in 2016 to Annie Power – on both occasions the winner of the Stan James Champion Hurdle was won by a horse trained by Willie Mullins, owned officially by Susannah Ricci and ridden by Ruby Walsh.
In the last 20 years (in total 19 Stan James Champion hurdles due to the abandoned meeting in 2001) there have been half a dozen six year old winners, seven seven year olds, four eight year olds and two nine year olds.
Willie Mullins has won four renewals – all in the last six years – while Stan James ambassador Nicky Henderson has won two.
Only three winners had a rating less than 160 – while interesting all but six (according to our research) came into that season with a rating higher than 160.
Horses at the start of the year that are rated at least 160 over 2 miles hurdles are Faugheen (176), My Tent or Yours (162), Nichols Canyon (162), Altior (160) – all are trained by Mullins or Henderson.
160+ rated hurdlers over 2miles 3 furlongs plus include Annie Power (166), Artic Fire (163), Alpha des Obeaux (162), Kilcooley, Different Gravey, Reve De Sivola and Rock on Ruby (all 160).