Horse Racing tips: Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey’s Punchestown Champion Hurdle antepost bets

Paddy sponsors Friday's feature at the Festival and has dangled a €100K bonus for Goshen to nibble at.



*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

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The Paddy Power Champion Hurdle takes place at Punchestown on Friday, April 30. Henry de Bromhead’s Honeysuckle is set to go off as the odds-on favourite in Ireland but can the seven year old be topped?

Paddy Power Trader Frank Hickey and top pundit Ruby Walsh assess the field on the latest edition of Paddy Power’s From the Horses Mouth podcast, ahead of next week’s showcase Festival that brings the curtain down on the Irish jumps season.

Friday, April 30 – Punchestown Champion Hurdle

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Ruby said: “Honeysuckle is definitely the best two-miler in training, that’s for sure! She was really good at Cheltenham and travelled well. You’re looking for something to beat her but what is it? She hasn’t run at the track? I’m not sure that’ll do it.

“She sets the standard, it’ll be beautiful ground and I fancy her here. Everything will play into her hands, I don’t see where it turns around on her.”

Frank Hickey agrees, although our expert trader says movement in the market suggests Honeysuckle might have some competition.

He said: “Honeysuckle is the clear favourite and will go off odds-on. We have laid a fair bit of Goshen at 20/1 and 16/1, we have laid Aspire Tower at 14/1 and Jason The Militant at 20/1 and 16/1. That suggests all three of them could run.”

Epatante Aidan Coleman Kempton December 26, 2020

Frank discussed Honeysuckle’s main rivals in the Punchestown showdown, however, he doesn’t see Nicky Henderson’s Epatante as a real threat.

He said: “I can’t see any reason why Epatante would reverse if she came over. She was below form in the Christmas hurdle and she appeared a little below form in the Champion Hurdle also. I just can’t see her rediscovering her Champion Hurdle win level of form and even if she did, I don’t think that would be enough to beat an on-song Honeysuckle.”

On Goshen, who finished eighth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and who Paddy has dangled a €100k carrot in front off to try and win at Punchestown, Frank added: “Goshen hung badly at Cheltenham and didn’t hear if there was a reason for that but there was a worry about him going left-handed prior to the Triumph last season. Getting back on a right-handed track would be no negative for him. He would want the weather to turn though, as I am pretty sure he wants the ground to be soft at least, to be seen at his best.”

When asked whether Paddy’s bonus would entice the UK runners to come, Ruby added: “It will yeah – Epatante will come, Goshen is coming, Silver Streak will probably come, I wouldn’t be surprised if Buveur D’Air came as well. The ones that are entered will come of course they will. But I can’t see them getting it!”

Ruby was also asked about Wille Mullins’ Sharjah, with the pundit responding: “Yeah we can try and make a case for Willie’s horses if you want, but being brutally honest, he just doesn’t have a Champion Hurdle horse in that bunch anyway.”



Frank went on to discuss Abacadabras and Aspire Tower on the podcast, claiming both could be worth backing as an each-way bet.

Abacadabras fell in the Champion Hurdle and I liked the way he went about his business in the Aintree Hurdle and actually was quite resolute in the finish which I wasn’t sure he had in him. Drying ground will suit him and he did win the Morgiana Hurdle here earlier in the season,” he said.

When speaking about Aspire Tower, Frank added: “I thought Aspire Tower ran a cracker in the Champion Hurdle when being very weak in the market. That was his first start since Christmas and he went off 33/1. He looked a big danger approaching the second last flight and hit 3/1 in the run but he made a mistake and lost momentum and when the others quickened up, he was a little flat-footed before staying on again to finish fourth.

“He is one-from-five going left handed and two-from-two running right handed. Might be nothing but he did hammer Sea Ducor in his maiden hurdle here too. I’ll probably have an each-way bet on Aspire Tower if he is 12/1 or over and will play him in the ‘Without Honeysuckle’ markets as well.”

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

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