Pentland Hills backed for 2020 Champion Hurdle after Aintree win


The 2020 Champion Hurdle antepost betting market was shaken up recently after another impressive showing from Pentland Hills.

The four-year-old arrived at Aintree fresh from a victory in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and produced another impressive performance to win the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle, with Pentland Hills edging out Fakir D’oudairies by a neck.

The Nicky Henderson-trained charge now has all options open next season and it appears that he might remain a two-mile hurdler, with the bookmakers considering him a reasonable prospect for next season’s Champion Hurdle.

Bet365 offer a best price 16/1 about the four-year-old who will obviously be five by the time that this race comes around, although some bookies are only prepared to go 12/1 that Pentland Hills claims victory.

Since Nicky Henderson started training the horse, it’s been a flawless campaign, with Nico de Boinville steering him to a triumph at Plumpton in February before scoring the Triumph Hurdle at odds of 20/1.

Pentland Hills obliged at a much shorter 11/4 when winning at Aintree, with a rapid improvement discovered over the past few months and it would be no surprise if the horse was able to make a further step up.

Espoir D’Allen remains the race favourite after that impressive 2019 Champion Hurdle last month, with the JP McManus trading at a best price 5/1 although it won a race that effectively fell apart due to the fall of Buveur D’air along with the non-performances of Laurina and Apples Jade.

Perhaps Espoir D’Allen is going to emerge as the real deal, although not too many horses do end up winning the race in consecutive years and the bookies think that Buveur D’air’s time in the sun is effectively over.

The Nicky Henderson charge failed to oblige at odds-on when running at Aintree last week, with Ladbrokes among those bookmakers who are prepared to quote 12/1 about the two-time Champion Hurdle winner.

Supasundae was able to win the Betway Aintree Hurdle for Jessie Harrington, although this was a race over two miles and four furlongs. It does beg the question as to whether Buveur D’air will be run over a longer distance in the years to come.

Klassical Dream seems far more likely to line up in the 2020 Champion Hurdle and the winner of the 2019 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is currently trading at odds of around 8/1 to claim the spoils next year, with Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh fully aware of what’s required to win this race.

Apples Jade is as big as 25/1 on the Champion Hurdle antepost market, with the mare likely to be rerouted into the Mares Hurdle if she runs again at the Cheltenham Festival, while Laurina might take her chances again and she’s currently trading at a similar price.