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Constitution Hill heads Champion Hurdle entries

3 minute read

Nicky Henderson’s star hurdler Constitution Hill tops the 22 entries for the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

CONSTITUTION HILL. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

A total of 22 horses have been entered for the opening day showpiece in nine weeks, with Constitution Hill, who arrives bidding to retain his crown following last year's empathic nine-length trial over State Man, a best-priced 1/3 with a handful of bookmakers for the two-mile feature on the back of his smooth reappearance success in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

There are five more entries at this stage than there were last year with Closutton-based handler Willie Mullins responsible for seven of the 22, which includes last year's runner-up State Man, who has landed back-to-back Grade 1 prizes this season at Punchestown and Leopardstown this season. 2023 Champion Hurdle fourth Vauban, Echoes In Rain, Gala Marceau, Impaire Et Passe and Zarak The Brave round out the Mullins septet.

Triumph Hurdle favourite Burdett Road is an interesting entry with last year's third Zanahiyr featuring alongside stablemates Irish Point and Pied Piper for trainer Gordon Elliott.

Impaire Et Passe, who was among the 22 Champion Hurdle entries, is also among the 36 entries for the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle, which has seen numbers increase by eight from last year's total of 28 at this stage.

French raider Theleme and last year's third Teahupoo both head the market at 9/2 with race sponsor Paddy Power. The former landed a Grade 1 hurdle at Auteuil in November with the latter denying Impaire Et Passe by a length in the Grade 1 Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse towards the beginning of December. Stablemate Irish Point, who impressed when an eleven-length winner of the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown, is next in the betting with the likes of Crambo, Sir Gerhard, Paisley Park and last season's winner Sire Du Berlais all featuring.

11/4 ante-post favourite Lossiemouth is among 25 entries for the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle although it should be noted the Mullins-trained 2023 Triumph Hurdle winner is also in the Champion Hurdle. Last year's Triumph Hurdle runner-up and stablemate Gala Marceau is among the opposition at this stage, with entries for Ashroe Diamond and Echoes In Rain meaning Mullins has four of the first five in the ante-post market.

There are 25 entries for the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle, beating last year's figure by one, with 2023 Triumph Hurdle winner Lossiemouth heading the betting at a top-priced 11-4, although she has also been put in the Champion.

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