Irish Champion Hurdle tips and runner-by-runner guide to Leopardstown 3.10 on Sunday

Honeysuckle... State Man... Vauban... bring it on!

Honeysuckle State Man and Vauban


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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.


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

Pied Piper

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.


State Man

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.

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