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Christmas Hurdle - 26th December, 2014

Faugheen maintain his unblemished record with an imperious victory in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot and the ante-post favourite for the Champion Hurdle will aim to cement his place at the top of the betting with victory in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.

A scintillating winner of the Neptune Novices' Hurdle in March, the Willie Mullins-trained has been hailed as the next big Irish superstar and the manner in which he quickened in the final furlong oozed class and he will be extremely tough to beat in this 2m Grade 1 event.

On a card that will see the King George VI Chase take centre stage, there will be some notable rivals to Faugheen and Irving showed when winning the Fighting Fifth Hurdle that he is a real top class performer and he will be aiming to build on that effort.

Nicky Henderson's Sign Of A Victory was a fine winner of a handicap hurdle last time out and will now be handed his toughest test, but he is still unexposed and could be a leading player in what should be a real festive treat on a superb afternoon's racing.

Purple Bay made the most of Irving's last flight fall to win the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton and he will take his chance, with Blue Heron and Sgt Reckless another couple of runners entered for this 2m contest that should fluctuate the Champion Hurdle market.

Latest Betting for 2014 Christmas Hurdle

4/9 Faugheen

4/1 Irving

7/1 Sign Of A Victory

20/1 Purple Bay

33/1 Sgt Reckless

33/1 Blue Heron

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Christmas Hurdle History

The Christmas Hurdle is a Grade One race run at Kempton Park on Boxing Day over two miles for horses aged four years or older and is widely regarded as one of the leading trials for the Champion Hurdle.

Established in 1969, the Christmas Hurdle is now an integral part to Kempton's Boxing Day meeting which also sees the top chasers do battle in the King George VI Chase.

It wasn't long before this race attracted the leading two-mile horses who would venture on to the Cheltenham Festival and contest the Champion Hurdle and Lanzarote was the first to win both the Christmas and Champion Hurdles the same year.  In 1973 the Fred Winter-trained five-year-old won the Christmas Hurdle before going on to win the 1974 Champion Hurdle at Prestbury Park.

The incomparable Dawn Run is another name etched in the illustrious roll of honour as he won the 1983 Christmas Hurdle before going on to win the 1984 Champion Hurdle and the 1986 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Kribensis was another classy winner of the race as he achieved back-to-back successes in this contest in 1988 and 1989 before winning the 1990 Champion Hurdle.  Sir Michael Stoute's stable star was a multiple winner at the top level and also managed to win both the Triumph Hurdle and Fighting Fifth hurdle during a stellar career.

More recently, Intersky Falcon was a dual winner of the race in the early 2000's, whilst Binocular went into the race in 2010 as the reigning Champion hurdler before sauntering to a three-and-three-quarter length success beating Donald McCain's Overturn.

Recent Winners of Christmas Hurdle

  • 2000 - Geos
  • 2001 - Landing Light
  • 2002 - Intersky Falcon
  • 2003 - Intersky Falcon
  • 2004 - Harchibald
  • 2005 - Feathard Lady
  • 2006 - Jazz Messenger
  • 2007 - Straw Bear
  • 2008 - Harchibald
  • 2009 - Go Native
  • 2010 - Binocular
  • 2011 - Binocular
  • 2012 - Darlan
  • 2013 - My Tent Or Yours
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