Cheltenham Festival 2019: Can Buveur D’Air triumph in Champion Hurdle again?
Buveur D'Air is looking to win the Champion Hurdle for the third successive year at the Cheltenham Festival
The Cheltenham Festival will get underway on Tuesday 12 March.
The biggest horse racing event on the calendar in United Kingdom will start with the Champion Hurdle.
The standout race on day one is a real test for two-mile hurdlers as the curtain goes up on the prestigious festival.
Cheltenham enthusiasts will remember how Buveur D’Air retained the Champion Hurdle title last year.
Jockey Barry Geraghty steered Buveur D’Air to a stunning victory despite competition from Melon.
Buveur D’Air’s triumph saw trainer Nicky Henderson set a new record after winning his seventh Champion Hurdle.
Henderson’s impressive horse has won the Champion Hurdle in 2017 and 2018 – and will return to defend his title for the second successive year.
Buveur D’Air has the chance to create even more history when he looks to surpass Hardy Eustace and Hurricane Fly and win the Champion Hurdle for a third time.
Unsurprisingly, Buveur D’Air heads the Cheltenham betting for the opening race next month.
Owned by JP McManus, the eight-year horse could face competition from his stable mate Verdana Blue in the two-mile hurdle.
Another contender for the Champion Hurdle crown could be Laurina following a set of impressive victories over the past year.
Melon is another horse that could push Buveur D’Air after their enthralling battle in this race last year.
The standout race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival will be the Queen Mother’s Champion Chase.
Ridden by Nico de Boinville, Altior stormed to victory in the Champion Chase to secure another big win for the decorated trainer.
With Altior’s big rival Douvan falling at the fourth, Altior withstood a challenge from Min and God’s Own to win the big race on day two.
Naturally, Altior will be one of the favourites to retain the Queen Mother’s Champion Chase title.
He has the chance to become the fourth horse to win the race on more than one occasion. The feat was previously achieved by Moscow Flyer, Master Minded and Sprinter Sacre.
Altior is unbeaten in 11 races over hurdles to make Henderson’s steed the clear favourite to maintain his winning record.
There could be competition from 2018 Arkle winner Footpad and Altior’s stablemate Min.
Another race to keep an eye on will be the Mares’ Hurdle on day one.
Willie Mullins has traditionally dominated this race and Laurina is fancied to run well up the hill.