The Irish Champion Hurdle is a Grade One race that takes place at the end of January or early February at Leopardstown racecourse. As Ireland’s leading premier hurdle race, the Champion Hurdle attracts some of the biggest names in the industry, with many using the race as a warm-up to the Champion Hurdle which takes place during the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Run over a distance of 2 miles, with eight hurdles to overcome, the Irish Champion Hurdle is restricted to horses aged four years or more. The event first took place back in 1950, with Hatton’s Grace being the first ever winner. The likes of Brave Inca, Hardy Eustace and Istabraq have all won in recent years, while the Jessica Harrington-trained Supasundae comes into this years Irish Champion Hurdle as the reigning champion.
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Irish Champion Hurdle 2019 (Sat. 2nd February)
The 2019 Irish Champion Hurdle will take place on Saturday 2nd February at Leopardstown Racecourse, with the final time of the race having yet to have been finalised. However, many bookmakers have already opened their Irish Champion Hurdle betting markets, perfect for those looking to back their favourite runners and riders involving in this Grade 1 race.
(Added) Irish Champion Hurdle 2019 Winners
|1||Apple's Jade||8/11F||J W Kennedy||Gordon Elliott|
|2||Supasundae||4/1||R M Power||Mrs J Harrington|
|3||Petit Mouchoir||12/1||Rachael Blackmore||H De Bromhead|
Irish Champion Hurdle & Cheltenham Festival
The Irish Champion Hurdle is regarded by many as the equivalent to the race of the same name which takes place during the Cheltenham Festival just a matter of weeks later, with many trainers using the race as trial before deciding whether to head to the South-West of England or not. Following Irish Champion Hurdle action is also important for those getting ready for Cheltenham betting in 2019 – with the Cheltenham Trial Day and the Irish Champion Hurdle taking place within just days of each other, the two events often provided excellent insight as to who will come out on top during the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Meanwhile, many horses have achieved success in both races, along with a large number of leading trainers. Having won the Irish Champion Hurdle for five years in a row between 2011-2015, Hurricane Fly saw off the competition at Cheltenham in 2013 too, ridden by legendary jockey Ruby Walsh.
Elsewhere, Willie Mullins’ Faugheen backed up his 2015 Champion Hurdle victory at Cheltenham by winning the Irish version of the event, handing Walsh yet another success in the process.
Irish Champion Hurdle 2018 Winners
With many runners and riders returning to Leopardstown year after year in a bid to write their names into the record books, it comes as little surprise that there have been some well-known winners of the Irish Champion Hurdle in the history of the race. However, the Irish Champion Hurdle 2018 results perhaps provide the biggest insight as to how this years race may play out, with the following runners and riders having finished in the top three positions:
1.Supasundae – Mrs J Harrington – R Power – 8/1
Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae produced the performance of his career to date in order to see off the superstar power of Faugheen in 2018, with the eight-year-old eventually finishing 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Willie Mullin’s prized assets.
2.Faugheen – W Mullins – P Townend – 9/10f
Having started the race as the overwhelming favourite, Faugheen was unable to deal with the late speed of Supersundae, despite having led for the majority of the race. However, the loss apparently did little to effect his confidence, with the 10-year-old having won the Stayers Hurdle just a matter of weeks later at the Cheltenham Festival.
3.Mick Jazz – G Elliott – D Russell – 8/1
Mick Jazz finished in third place with Davy Russell onboard, however the seven-year-old was never really in contention at Leopardstown. The Gordon Elliot trained horse again finished third weeks later at Cheltenham, this time in the Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy.