The Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle is one of the biggest races in the Irish National Hunt calendar and the 2019 renewal will be run on Saturday 2 February. The race was established in 1950 and is run over two miles and eight hurdles.
It takes place at Leopardstown and is one of the highlights of the first day of the Dublin Racing Festival. Notable winners include Flyingbolt, Dawn Run, Istabraq, Brave Inca, Hardy Eustace, Hurricane Fly, and Faugheen.
Irish Champion 10-Year-Trends
- Winners have been aged between six and 11
- Willie Mullins has trained six of the last 10 winners
- Ruby Walsh has ridden six of the last 10 winners
- Winners have been rated between 159 and 175
- Eight of the last 10 favourites have won
- SP’s of the winners have ranged from 1/6 to 8/1
Irish Champion Hurdle 2019 Main Contenders
Gordon Elliott’s seven-year-old is looking to become the first mare to win the Irish Champion Hurdle since Like A Butterfly in 2003, but she’s already won nine grade 1 races including two this season. Most of those wins have come over either 2½ miles or 3 miles, but she’s had most of her rivals off the bridle a long way from home and could easily lead this field a merry dance if in the same form as when we last saw her.
Won last year’s renewal when staying on too strongly for the favourite Faugheen, a horse who was well below his best form much of last season. Supasundae did have Melon back in fifth that day and is a model of consistency having been first or second in his last seven starts over trips ranging from two miles to three miles. The problem is he’s come off second best to Apple’s Jade on three occasions.
Arrived at the stable of Willie Mullins with a big reputation and a repeat the form of his second in last year’s English Champion Hurdle would give him a big chance. But he only finished fifth in this race last year and was again behind Supasundae in the Ryanair Hurdle over course and distance last time.
The 2017 winner was sent over fences last season but reverted to hurdles when sixth in the Ryanair Hurdle behind Supasundae and Melon. However, he was the subject of a gamble that day, when connections tried to hold him up instead of adopting his usual front-running tactics.
Irish Champion Hurdle 2019 Summary & Tip
Melon and Petit Mouchoir are genuine two-milers but have questions to answer after performing below their best this season. Melon may be more of a spring horse, but Petit Mouchoir could cause a few problems if connections decide to take Apple’s Jade on for the lead this time around.
Even if that’s the case, it’s hard to go against Apple’s Jade. She has done her winning over further this season but, as she had all her rivals off the bridle after two-miles in all her races, I can’t see the shorter trip inconveniencing her. She’s also won over two-miles in her younger days, including when winning a Grade 1 at Aintree by 41 lengths.
Irish Champion Hurdle 2019 Betting Tip
Tip: Apple’s Jade