• Ian Ender


When Cornerstone Lad comes under starters orders at on Tuesday he will be following in the hoof prints of many of the all time greats of hurdling.

The Champion Hurdle was first run in 1927, where the winner was Blaris who won prize money of £365, tomorrows race will see the victor collect the very handsome sum of £264,610. Five horses have won the race on three occasions Hatton's Grace (1949-1951) Sir Ken,(1952-1954,) Persian War (1968-1970,) See You Then,(1985-1987,) and Istabraq (1998-2000.) Istabraq was probably unlucky not to win a forth, as he was odds on for the race in 2001, but the meeting didn't go ahead because of the foot and mouth epidemic.

It is 39 years since the North last had a Champion Hurdle winner which was the great Sea Pigeon trained by the legendary Peter Easterby, he was a dual winner defending his crown from the previous year. Easterby also trained the mighty Night Nurse to win in 1976 and 1977 during the 'Golden Age' of Champion Hurdlers.

It is a privilege to be able to feel part of the team who have a live contender in this renewal of a historic race.

Good luck to Cornerstone Lad, Mrs Lofthouse, and Henry Brooke.

Cornerstone Lad pictured with our ace photographer Steven Jones.

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Micky Hammond Racing, Oakwood Stables, Middleham, DL8 4PT.