How many horses have won the Champion Hurdle three times?
The Champion Hurdle is, as the name suggests, is the two-mile hurdling championship and has been a fixture of the Cheltenham Festival since 1927. In its history, the Champion Hurdle has thrown up five three-time winners, all of whom, coincidentally, recorded three consecutive victories.
The first horse to complete a hat-trick in the Champion Hurdle was Hatton’s Grace, trained by Vincent O’Brien, in 1949, 1950 and 1951. He was immediately followed by the second, Sir Ken, who did likewise in 1952, 1953 and 1954. Next up was Persian War, trained by Willie Stephenson, in 1968, 1969 and 1970; the fourth highest-rated hurdler in the history of Timeform, he went on to finish second when attempting an unprecedented four-timer in 1971.
More recently, trainer Nicky Henderson managed to work the oracle with the talented, but fragile, See You Then, who was rarely seen outside the Cheltenham Festival, but completed a hat-trick in 1985, 1986 and 1987. Last, but by no means least, the second highest-rated hurdler in the history of Timeform, Istabraq, stood on the cusp of immortality in 2001, only for the Cheltenham Festival to be cancelled, in its entirety, due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Trained by an up-and-coming Aidan O’Brien, Istabraq had already completed a hat-trick in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and was odds-on to make it four in a row.