But then the Ebor roll of honour under the previous conditions did that anyway, with winners of the calibre of Sea Pigeon
, Sergeant Cecil, Brown Jack, Jupiter Island, Further Flight and Gladness.
1980, John Francome Champion Hurdle CLASSY on the Flat, Sea Pigeon
went to the top in a golden era of hurdlers.
It's 35 years since Tug Of War achieved the same feat and he was up to beating the mighty Sea Pigeon
. Jonjo O'Neill used to ride Sea Pigeon
"When you're talking about Sea Pigeon
and those sort of horses, it's a huge feather in his cap to win those two races.
And our final shot is from 1977 when winner Tug of War - who beat Sea Pigeon
by a length - was led in by Brian Rouse.
No 12-year-old has won the Champion while only two 11-year-olds - Hatton's Grace (1951) and Sea Pigeon
(1981) - have been successful.
Goldhill won twice at Royal Ascot; Sea Pigeon
won the Ebor carrying record weight, and also twice landed the Chester Cup.
However, the fact remains that this could be the first year, since Sea Pigeon
almost three decades ago, that a Scottish-owned horse seriously influences the destination of the Champion Hurdle crown.
I remember the eve of the Northumberland Plate, I was doing a live interview for television with Easterby, who was running Sea Pigeon
in the Tyneside marathon.
won 21 of his 40 races over jumps, including two Champion Hurdles, and 16 of his 45 starts on the Flat including the Chester Cup in 1977 and 1978 and the 1979 Ebor at York.
It seems that Istabraq is equipped with a few extra gears more than his contemporaries and deserves to be in hurdling's hall of fame alongside such stars as Persian War, Bula, Night Nurse, Monksfield and Sea Pigeon
Ian Watkinson (pictured) 69 rider of Night Nurse & Sea Pigeon
; Ken Morgan 58 rider of Classical Charm & Carvill's Hill; Randy Winick 68 trainer of La Spia & Brocco; Chuck Jenda 71 trainer of Brown Bess & New Advantage; Gerald Ham 68 trainer of Guiburn & Bridie's Pride; Jesse Campbell 40 rider of Apart & Midnight Aria; Steve Robinson 61 head groundsman at Newbury; Mark Giles 66 former Michael Stoute work-rider; Liam Corcoran 40 former Somerset trainer; Jean-Rene Auvray 49 former Upper Lambourn trainer; Stewart Pike 69 former Sidmouth permitholder; Nicky Byrne 39 former owner with Tommy Stack; Chris Burton 27 Jockey Club regional business development executive; Sir Sam Cowan 76 former trustee of Racing Welfare HORSE PLAY ANSWERS Easy as 1-2-3 1.