Since World War II, how many five-year-olds have won the Champion Hurdle?
Inaugurated in 1927, the Champion Hurdle is, of course, the two-mile hurdling championship and is run annually on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival in March. In recent years, five-year-old winners of the Champion Hurdle have been few and far between. In fact, the last of them was Espoir D’Allen in 2019 but, before that, Katchit in 2008 – who also had the distinction of being the first Triumph Hurdle winner since Kribensis, in 1990, to win the Champion Hurdle – was the only five-year-old winner since See You Then in 1985.
Including the aforementioned trio, since World War II, a total of nine five-year-olds have won the Champion Hurdle. Coincidentally, following the resumption of the Cheltenham Festival after a two-year hiatus, the first two renewals, in 1945 and 1946, were both won by five-year-olds, namely Brains Trust and Distel, respectively. The remaining quartet includes some memorable names in the history of the Champion Hurdle, three of whom went on to win eight renewals between them.
Sir Ken, trained by Willie Stephenson, was a five-year-old when he won the first of three consecutive Champion Hurdles in 1952, as was Anzio, trained by Fulke Walwyn, when he won his sole Champion Hurdle in 1962. Next up came another three-time winner, Persian War, trained by Colin Davies, in 1968 and he was followed by a dual winner, the incomparable Night Nurse, in 1976.