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Friday, 15 January 2021

Cheltenham Festival 2021 Champion Hurdle Day Favourites and Their Sires

While Frankel is without question one of the greatest racehorses of all-time, his career at stud has seen the vast majority of his progeny run on the Flat. The one area in which we are all waiting for him to make an impact is a sire of National Hunt racehorses. 

The great thing about breeding racehorses is equine greatness can spring from various sources. 

Looking into the pedigrees of four favourites from Champion Hurdle day at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, you can see what we mean. 

Shishkin (Sholokhov) 

Strong Arkle fancy Shishkin was sired by Sholokhov, making him a half-brother to 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack. That suggests he will appreciate even further than two miles over fences in time. 

Sholokhov won the Gran Criterium at the San Siro track in Milan, Italy as a juvenile but frequently butted heads with Hawk Wing when trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien. His 200/1 second in the 2002 Irish Derby behind High Chaparral almost caused one of the biggest upsets in horse racing history.

Shishkin (Sholokhov) 

Strong Arkle fancy Shishkin was sired by Sholokhov, making him a half-brother to 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack. That suggests he will appreciate even further than two miles over fences in time. 

Sholokhov won the Gran Criterium at the San Siro track in Milan, Italy as a juvenile but frequently butted heads with Hawk Wing when trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien. His 200/1 second in the 2002 Irish Derby behind High Chaparral almost caused one of the biggest upsets in horse racing history.

Epatante (No Risk At All)

The up-and-coming sire behind reigning Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante is No Risk At All. It’s fair to say that the daughter has far surpassed her father on the track already and can look forward to life after racing as a broodmare. 

No Risk At All twice won at Listed level when trained in France as a juvenile. Although struggling the following year, he recorded consecutive Group 3 successes as a four-year-old.

Epatante, who is a half-sister to smart Irish chaser Allaho, has three Grade 1 victories and counting on her own CV so far. She remains the one to beat for the powerful connections of trainer Nicky Henderson and owner JP McManus in the 2021 Champion Hurdle.

Honeysuckle (Sulamani)

 

As yet undefeated on the track, Henry De Bromhead’s star mare Honeysuckle is by globetrotting sire Sulamani. Victorious in the 2002 Prix du Jockey Club, also known as the French Derby, he also won Group/Grade 1 races in four other countries. 

Sulamani was still useful as a five-year-old when he took the Juddmonte International at York and Canadian International at Woodbine. There is a definite emphasis on stamina in his progeny. 

Honeysuckle is the half-sister of 2016 Grand National hero Rule The World, who famously went into the world’s greatest steeplechase as a maiden over fences. She is also ante post favourite for consecutive Mares’ Hurdle victories at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. 

Galvin (Gold Well) 

It seems hard to believe that a prolific and successful racehorse sire wouldn’t have had a good career on the track themselves, but that’s not the case with Gold Well. His son, Galvin, has been put away for the winter by Irish trainer Gordon Elliott for a tilt at the National Hunt Chase. 

Gold Well has never had in a race in his life, but is a brother to the prolific stallion Montjeu and that is all the recommendation required. Proof, as if it were needed, of his credentials can be found courtesy of Holywell, a Grade 1 winning novice chaser, and 2018 Irish Grand National scorer General Principle.