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Champion Hurdle 2021 Shake Up After Christmas Disappointments
Many of the serious Champion Hurdle 2021 contenders have been in action over the Christmas period, and on the whole, this has been a disappointing time for most.
The main focus for these horses is in March at the Cheltenham Festival, but winning along the way is always important and the main contenders have not done this over Christmas.
Prior to the races over Christmas, the two favourites at the head of the market were Epatante and Saint Roi. Both were beaten; despite that Epatante is still the favourite, while Saint Roi has dropped in the betting after a disappointing run at Leopardstown.
Will these two be able to bounce back on the big day in March or will something else come out of the pack that has won this Christmas and confirm that at Cheltenham in March?
The Losers Over Christmas
Anyone who keeps up to date with the latest general sports news will know that horse racing is one of the sports that takes centre stage. This year has been no exception, and headlines have been made.
The biggest without a doubt is the loss of Epatante at Kempton in the Christmas Hurdle. She was beaten fair and square by Silver Streak in the race, and now questions have been raised as to whether she was right on the day or not.
If she wasn’t right, then she ran well considering that and would be fancied to turn things around under better circumstances. However, if nothing is found, it is a dent in her armour, and one that raises question marks at the festival.
The second horse beaten wasn’t as big of a surprise, but Saint Roi losing at Leopardstown certainly halted his charge in the Champion Hurdle 2021 market, it is back to the drawing board for that runner.
The Winners and Surprise Contenders
The one horse to make a big move over Christmas was certainly Silver Streak, who was the horse to beat Epatante at Kempton.
When the Evan Williams trained runner won the Christmas Hurdle, he jumped up the betting list towards the head of the market.
He is certainly nowhere near favourite Epatante, but the performance was good enough for him to become a genuine lively outsider, who many people will no doubt be interested in.
Sharjah jumped in the betting too after beating Saint Roi at Leopardstown, and those two runners have almost swapped positions in the betting after that race.
Sharjah loves Leopardstown and the Matheson Hurdle, which may temper expectations a little for some people heading into Cheltenham.
The Champion Hurdle 2021 is the feature race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival, and the race that attracts the most betting interest.
People will be able to nail their colours to the mast with their selections in the Champion Hurdle 2021, some may find themselves betting on each horse in a race.
Despite being beaten, Epatante is still the race favourite and assuming she gets to the day fit and well, she will likely go off favourite.
Behind her is where we have seen a shake up. Sharjah and Silver Streak have both contracted in the betting, and are genuine outsiders with a chance now based on what they have done over Christmas.
There was a lot of hope surrounding Saint Roi and his challenge, that has diminished a little though now, and he is out in the betting to reflect that.
However the race and the betting market shapes up, it will be considered one of the biggest of the year, and a perfect feature on day one of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.