*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
Honeysuckle is set to tackle five rivals in her bid to land a fourth Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Henry de Bromhead’s superstar mare faces the unprecedented situation of having to bounce back from defeat last time out and her principal rivals in Sunday’s 3.10pm at the Dublin Racing Festival are Willie Mullins’ rising stars State Man and Vauban, who were the first two home in the Matheson Hurdle over course and distance in December.
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Gordon Elliott pitches Pied Piper and last season’s runner-up Zanahiyr into the mix, while Thomas Mullins’ rank outsider Takarengo completes the line-up.
Irish Champion Hurdle odds can be found on the Paddy Power website, Paddy Power app or via our snazzy betting widgets, otherwise Timeform’s horse-by-horse guide to the runners and betting tips from the racing boffins are below.
Irish Champion Hurdle runners
Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Davy Russell Age: 5 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Smart but couldn’t live with Vauban in last season’s Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. Returned to win at Cheltenham and Down Royal (Grade 2) in the autumn but ran abysmally behind State Man and Vauban in the Matheson. Likely to come up short even if back to his best.
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: P. Townend Age: 6 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Fell on his C&D yard debut but unbeaten since, completing a Grade 1 hat-trick when proving 4¼ lengths too strong for reopposing stablemate Vauban in Matheson over C&D at the Christrmas meeting. Did that under only a hands-and-heels ride so there’s likely even more to come.
Trainer: Thomas Mullins Jockey: Age: 7 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Fairly useful but out of his depth in this company.
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Age: 5 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Burst on to the scene when winning the Grade 1 juvenile at this meeting last year and went on to land the Triumph at Cheltenham and the Champion 4-y-o Hurdle at Punchestown in the spring. Encouraging return to action when 4¼ lengths to State Man in the Matheson over C&D in December. More to come.
Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Age: 6 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Very smart hurdler at his best (second to Honeysuckle in this last year) but well below par on both outings this term. Can make mistakes. Has something to prove for the time being.
Trainer: Henry de Bromhead Jockey: Rachael Blackmore Age: 9 Weight: 11st 5lbs
Outstanding mare who was unbeaten, including 3 wins in this, until finishing 2¾ lengths third to Teahupoo in Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse (19.5f) on her reappearance in December. On the positive side she has taken a good step forward from first to second run in her previous campaigns.
Irish Champion Hurdle tips
Timeform: STATE MAN was most impressive when beating Vauban in the Matheson here over Christmas and can confirm his superiority over his stable-companion and land a fourth Grade 1 in a row. Honeysuckle, who has won the last 3 runnings of this, would obviously be a major threat to both if shrugging off a below-par reappearance run in the Hatton’s Grace.
Read More on the Dublin Racing Festival
- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest horse racing tips
- How did last year’s Dublin Racing Festival winners perform at 2022 Cheltenham Festival?
- When is the Irish Champion Hurdle? Leopardstown date, start time, runners and betting
- Dublin Racing Festival LIVE STREAM: Watch every race from Leopardstown for FREE