CHAMPION HURDLES of the 1980's (1980-1989)
The race is run over a distance of just above two miles and there are eight hurdles to be jumped on the Old Course at Prestbury Park. The race is the feature on Tuesday each year at the Festival and is without doubt one of the most popular races of the season from a betting point of view. The Champion Hurdle is open to horses aged four years and over and it requires the horses to be able to travel and jump at a break neck pace making it one of the most exciting spectacles in the sport of horse racing.
The first Champion Hurdle was run in 1927, and its inaugural winner, six-year-old BLARIS, beat just three rivals. Though small fields were common in the early days, there has not been a single-figure line-up since 1980 and the race attracts the cream of British and Irish hurdlers year in and year out. In its second year the event was won by BROWN JACK, who subsequently became a prolific winner of long-distance flat races. The Champion Hurdle was abandoned in 1931 due to persistent frost, and in 1932 it was contested by just three horses - the smallest field in its history. The race was cancelled twice during World War II, in 1943 and 1944.
The post-war years saw the emergence of the event's first triple winner, HATTON'S GRACE, who was trained in Ireland by Vincent O'Brien. The achievement of Hatton's Grace was soon to be matched by SIR KEN, who recorded three successive victories in the 1950's. The third horse to win the event three times was PERSIAN WAR, who completed his hat-trick in 1970.
The 1984 winner, DAWN RUN, became the second mare to win the Champion Hurdle. In the same year she also won the Irish and French versions of the event, and two seasons later in 1986 she won the most prestigious chase in National Hunt racing, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. She remains the only horse to have completed the Champion Hurdle-Gold Cup double.
From 1985 to 1987 the Champion Hurdle was dominated by SEE YOU THEN, who became the event's fourth three-time winner.
The second female horse to win the race was FLAKEY DOVE, the winner in 1994.
There is no doubt that the stand out name on the list of triple winners is the great ISTABRAQ who won the race in 1998, 1999 and 2000 for trainer Aidan O'Brien. He holds the race record time of 3 minutes and 48.1 seconds, achieved in 2000. He simply loved Cheltenham Racecourse and there is every chance that had the 2001 race not been called off due to "foot and mouth" disease that he would have become the first four-time winner of the Champion Hurdle. ISTABRAQ returned for the 2002 running, but on this occasion he failed to complete the race, was pulled up and subsequently retired.
Re-live the Queen Mother Champion Chases from the decade of the 80's (1980-1989) all in their entirety from gate to wire.
Here are the top finishers from each year shown in this compilation:
1980: 1) SEA PIGEON 2) MONKSFIELD 3) BIRDS NEST
1981: 1) SEA PIGEON 2) POLLARDSTOWN 3) DARING RUN
1982: 1) FOR AUCTION 2) BROADSWORD 3) EKBALCO
1983: 1) GAYE BRIEF 2) BOREEN PRINCE 3) FOR AUCTION
1984: 1) DAWN RUN 2) CIMA 3) VERY PROMISING
1985: 1) SEE YOU THEN 2) ROBIN WONDER 3) STANS PRICE
1986: 1) SEE YOU THEN 2) GAYE BRIEF 3) NOHALMDUN
1987: 1) SEE YOU THEN 2) FLATTERER 3) BARNBROOK AGAIN
1988: 1) CELTIC SHOT 2) CLASSICAL CHARM 3) CELTIC CHIEF
1989: 1) BEECH ROAD 2) CELTIC CHIEF 3) CELTIC SHOT
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||National Hunt / Jumps / Steeplechase|