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2021 Irish Champion Hurdle Tips - Outsider can challenge the big guns at Leopardstown

  • We take a look through the betting for the 2021 Irish Champion Hurdle
  • This Grade One headlines the card on day one of the Dublin Racing Festival
  • Honeysuckle returns to defend her crown
  • Sharjah, Saint Roi and Abacadabras will all run
  • Petit Mouchoir is our best bet at 20/1
honeysuckle leopardstown
Petit Mouchoir (near) edges ahead of Honeysuckle after the last in the 2020 Irish Champion Hurdle. (Getty)

Day one at the Dublin Racing Festival is headlined by the 2021 Irish Champion Hurdle. This Grade One has been won by many of Ireland's greatest two-milers, with the names of Dawn Run, Flyingbolt, Istabraq and Hurricane Fly shining on the famous trophy.

We've taken a look through the current odds and picked out our best betting tips.

2021 Irish Champion Hurdle Odds


Name
Odds
Honeysuckle5/4
Sharjah2/1
Saint Roi4/1
Abacadabras6/1
Saldier10/1
Petit Mouchoir20/1

*Odds taken from Paddy Power on 3/2/21*

2021 Irish Champion Hurdle Runners


Honeysuckle2021 Irish Champion Hurdle FavouriteGET 5/4 HERE
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I'm really finding it hard to get a handle on this year's crop of Irish challengers for the Champion Hurdle.

Sharjah beat four of the five rivals he faces on Saturday when winning his third Matheson Hurdle before Christmas. Willie Mullins' eight-year-old has, however, failed to win in nine starts between the months of January and May, and Patrick Mullins' mount was well-beaten when he tried to sit closer to the pace in this race 12 months ago.

Saint Roi looked a star in the making when winning the County Hurdle last season. Despite plenty of hype, Mullins' charge has failed to impress since, losing to Abacadabras in the Morgiana Hurdle -  where he was keen throughout - before a surprisingly limp performance in the Matheson.

Abacadabras also put in a poor showing at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. Unlike Saint Roi, he had an excuse, as he scoped dirty post-race. Gordon Elliott's charge should have won the Morgiana with a little more authority than he did, and he's clearly not the most determined horse in the finish.

Saldier has plenty of ability, but he's also had lots of injury problems. On his return in the Matheson Hurdle, Paul Townend's mount was extremely keen, and faded rapidly when entering the home straight. While he's entitled to come on from that run, it was still a fairly off-putting performance and his record going right-handed is much stronger.

This leaves the returning champion, Honeysuckle looking very strong at the head of the betting. Yet, despite her victory here 12 months ago, and her so-far unblemished career record, I don't really fancy her at her current price.

I don't think Henry De Bromhead will have been that pleased with her performance in the Hatton's Grace, where she tied up noticeably on the run to the line and was also reeled in by Ronald Pump. The form of that race isn't working out well at all, and I still think she's beatable over the minimum distance.

2021 Irish Champion Hurdle Tips


Petit Mouchoir E/W2021 Irish Champion Hurdle TipsGET 20/1 HERE
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At the current odds, the only runner I feel happy about backing is PETIT MOUCHOIR. He gave Honeysuckle a real scare in this race 12 months ago, and even grabbed a surprise lead when the winner fluffed her lines at the last, only to run out of steam in the final 100 yards.

Petit Mouchoir has maintained a rating above 157 for the last five years. That really is some achievement, when a horse has been campaigned as hard as he has. He even managed to beat Footpad to become Irish Champion Hurdler back in 2017.

I was fully expecting this likable grey to fade out of contention when he dropped back to fifth rounding the bend in the Matheson Hurdle. Bryan Cooper's mount rallied admirably, passing Saldier, Abacadabras and Saint Roi on the run to the line.

In Grade One hurdles races at Leopardstown, Petit Mouchoir has won twice, finished second or third five times, and fourth or worse just twice. None of the Irish two-mile hurdlers - Honeysuckle aside - have shown any real consistency. What's to say that Petit Mouchoir can't catch a place this weekend, or even upset the odds and regain the Irish Champion Hurdle crown.
US

Verdict

Give his consistency down the years and his excellent record at Leopardstown, I think Petit Mouchoir is overpriced at 20/1. I'll be having a small each-way bet.

2021 Irish Champion Hurdle Tips: Petit Mouchoir Each-Way @2000.0 at BetMGM - 5 Units

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06 Feb 2021

2021 Irish Champion Hurdle