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The Cheltenham Festival goes back many years to say the least, and is part and parcel of the National Hunt racing calendar throughout Europe. This annual event takes place in March and coincides with St. Patrick’s Day.

As a “Grade 1” National Hunt hurdle race, the Champion Hurdle is open to horses aged four and upwards from as far as France and Ireland . The race is run on the old course at Cheltenham, and is run over a distance of 3,319 meters. The race itself comprises of some eight hurdles and is the fourth event on the first day of this open air four day Festival.

The stakes are high in this world known event, and the champion hurdle betting odds from william hill are climbing through the roof.

Although the Champion Hurdle is somewhat the “royal” run of the day, it does not overshadow some of the other events which are themselves “Grade 1” races such as the Supreme Novices Hurdle and Arkle Chase which start proceedings in addition to the Mares’ Hurdle

Interesting facts behind the Champion Hurdle is that it was first run in 1927, winner by the name of Blaris  was awarded £365. The second year of this event was won by Brown Jack, a horse that went on to becoming a winner of long distance flat races.

The race has been interrupted on three separate occasions. First off in 1931 the race was cancelled due to a bad frost that covered the course. Then from 1943 to 1944 the race was not run as this was during the World Ware 2 period. The last known catastrophy was in 2001 when all races were cancelled due to Foot and Mouth disease.

champion hurdle betting odds from will hill

Taking you back further, the National Hunt under which all these races are run originated in Ireland. The early races were also run with mainly only two horses. These races revolved around long trips across the country so that the horses were able to jump over obstacles of a natural nature which were part of the landscape.

The word “Steeplechase” derived from the fact that they used to use landmarks from where the horses would start their race to the finish. These landmarks were normally marked by the Church Steeple in each town.

The Grand National which is the world’s first “famous” sleeplechase race was run in Ireland in the early 19th Century. This race is also held annually, and is run at Britian’s Aintree Course. Also run under the National Hunt flag, The Grand National is run over 4½ miles, and considered one of the most demanding of all steeplechase races.  There are usually some 40 horses that compete in this race, but as a general rule not all finish the race. The most well known of all Horses to have won the Grand National was a horse called Red Rum who went on to win no less than three times, and coming in second on two occasions.

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