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Cheltenham Festival 2024 - Day 1 - Champion Hurdle Preview with Sky Sports Racing Presenter Luke Elder

Luke Elder from Sky Sports Racing previews the feature race on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival – The Champion Hurdle.

Unfortunately, no Constitution Hill here, he won't be back to defend his crown, which gives a perfect opportunity to State Man to try and get his first Grade One in the UK. He is a County Hurdle winner. He has won at the Cheltenham Festival in the past and he is a star over in Ireland.

This should be an ideal opportunity for him, so long as he runs his race, he won't get beaten in this race.

Irish point is in there as well - He's a horse that I must say I've never really fully warmed to, but he is still classy. I just never had him quite down as a Champion Hurdle horse and Iberico Lord, I think is one that should really be in the mix.

He was supplemented into this contest by JP McManus his owner for the cost of £18,000 just last week. He has been improving so far this year. I know as Ascot didn't really go to plan just before Christmas, but he was impressive winner of the Betfair Hurdle coming from a fairway back. He got a confident ride that day and with Constitution Hill out, Nicky Henderson relies on Iberico Lord as his main runner in the Champion Hurdle. I think he's in each way shout  -

The others, they might just struggle a little bit  Nemean Lion I thought ran a good race last time over and he ought to be in the mix at the very least for the Kerry Lee team but as I say Iberico Lord, he might just be one to fill one of the places.

If you do a Placepot, I think Iberico Lord has to live in there for everybody, effectively, he's around about 12/1. That's a very, very live each way play.

Like I say, State Man should just be very tough to beat. If Constitution Hill were here, all the Cheltenham preview nights would been saying about State Man, that he would be a certainty were the Henderson Star not to turn up.

This is his opportunity to prove everybody that would have said that. Including myself, right? But it could be a Willie Mullins domination on Day One of the Cheltenham Festival, but watch out for Iberico Lord, staying on late in the day.



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