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. And not only horses, some of the best Cheltenham betting offers are more or less connected with the race itself and its result.
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.
The 2022 Irish Champion Hurdle will take place on Saturday 5th 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.
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 2022 – 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.