Ryanair Hurdle Date is 29th December 2019


Type: Grade 1 hurdle race (2 miles)


Trial race for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival

Page Contents

General Race Info


Runners & Tips


Stats & Trends

Past Winners

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Ryanair Hurdle General Info

Known by its official name also, the December Festival Hurdle, this is a Grade 1 hurdle race run over two miles which acts as a major stepping stone towards the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. Run at Leopardstown as part of their Christmas Festival on Sunday December 29th, the Ryanair Hurdle 2019 will feature some of the top two-mile runners in Ireland, and indeed possibly Britain too. Past winners of this race have included subsequent Champion hurdlers Istabraq and Hurricane Fly among others, with some of racing’s greats having had their names etched onto the trophy.

Ryanair Hurdle 2019 Runners & Tips

Entries are not open just yet for the Ryanair Hurdle 2019, but as soon as they are, we’ll have details on the key contenders as we look forward to whittling down the field for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham too. Ante post information will be forthcoming just as soon as Ryanair Hurdle betting opens up after the first entry stage. 

Given that there have been many returning winners, including Istabraq who’d been down this road in the 90’s, using the actual age of these winners is not accurate. Ages of the 15 unique winners in this time period though shows us that they’ve all been aged 4-8, in fact 13 of the 15 were aged 5-8 which seems to be ideal for fancied Ryanair Hurdle runners.

Again, taking out the returning winners, 5 of 15 favourites have won at a rate rather low for such a big race meaning we should absolutely not be relying on market leaders to point out where the true quality lies.

8 winners of this event since 2000 have gone on to be placed in the Champion Hurdle, one was brought down and the great Istabraq was sent off favourite so its clear that despite not relying on favourites we absolutely need to be looking at those being aimed at the big one at Cheltenham when making our selections.

Trainer Willie Mullins has begun to dominate in recent times, so any good value runner of his in the Ryanair Hurdle 2019 should be noted carefully.

Ryanair Hurdle Betting

The best place to look for value in races of this huge stature is with the major firms, so you could do worse than check out Ladbrokes and BetVictor when betting is opening up on the event. 888 Cheltenham offers are definitely worth your attention as well.

New bonuses could be forthcoming, but the usual ‘non-runner, no bet’ deal should be in force meaning whatever we back ante post, we do so risk free. Also ‘best odds guaranteed’ are offered as standard by the major firms which is why it’s often best to stick with them, meaning when your final selection is made you should take the price on offer when you place the bet on the morning of the race.

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Past Ryanair Hurdle Winners

Despite dominating yet another race in Ireland, trainer Willie Mullins’ horses aren’t all allowed to go off at short prices and so it was the case with his Sharjah (6/1) in the 2018 running of this race.

While his Melon was better fancied at 7/2 and Gordon Elliott’s Samcro was the favourite, a 6/4 shot, Sharjah was not without his supporters after beating Faugheen in the Morgiana Hurdle the previous month.

Having been held up early by Patrick Mullins, Sharjah was allowed to grab the lead before the last flight and then stretched clear to eventually win by a relatively comfortable 3¾ lengths. Here’s a look at every winner from 2010 onwards, along with how well they did at the following Cheltenham Festival. 

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer Festival Performance
2018 Sharjah 5 Patrick Mullins Willie Mullins Brought down in Champion Hurdle
2017 Mick Jazz 6 Davy Russell Gordon Elliott 3rd in Champion Hurdle
2016 Petit Mouchoir 5 Bryan Cooper Henry De Bromhead 3rd in Champion Hurdle
2015 Nichols Canyon 5 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 3rd in Champion Hurdle
2014 Hurricane Fly 10 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 3rd in Champion Hurdle
2013 Hurricane Fly 9 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 4th in Champion Hurdle
2012 Hurricane Fly 8 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 1st in Champion Hurdle
2011 Unaccompanied 4 Paul Townend Dermot Weld Did not race
2010 Hurricane Fly 6 Paul Townend Willie Mullins 1st in Champion Hurdle