2021 Irish Champion Hurdle Tips, Odds and Predictions
The opening Saturday at the Dublin Racing Festival is headlined by the Irish Champion Hurdle. This Grade One has been won by many of the sport's greatest two-mile hurdlers, with the names of Flyingbolt, Instabraq and Hurricane Fly featuring on the roll of honour.
2021 Irish Champion Hurdle Odds
2021 Irish Champion Hurdle Tips
When the field is announced and the odds are released, we'll publish our guide to the 2021 Irish Champion Hurdle.
2021 Irish Champion Hurdle Entries
Honeysuckle extended her unbeaten career record into an 8th race at Leopardstown last year, battling back bravely to beat Petite Mouchoir and Darver Star.
Henry De Bromhead's star has since won the Mares' Hurdle and her second Hatton's Grace, and the bookies make Honeysuckle a strong favourite to retain her Irish Champion Hurdle crown.
Second in the market we find Sharjah, who swept past Abacadabras, Saint Roi and Aspire Tower to win his third Matheson Hurdle after Christmas.
Despite his brilliant record at Leopardstown, Willie Mullins' star has run poorly on both his previous visits to the Dublin Racing Festival, finishing seventh in the 2018 Deloitte and sixth here last year.
Aspire Tower attempted to make all in the Matheson Hurdle, but had no answer to Sharjah as the winner sprinter for the line after the last. He looks set to join his stablemate, Honeysuckle at Leopardstown, before going on to the Champion Hurdle.
Defeats in the Matheson and the Morgiana Hurdle have slowed Saint Roi's progression. Willie Mullins remains confident his County Hurdle winner is a Grade One winner in waiting, though, and he renews rivalries with Sharjah.
Abacadabras got the better of Saint Roi in the Morgiana, but flopped badly here over Christmas. Gordon Elliott's charge scoped badly following the Matheson Hurdle, and the fact he's out again so quickly points to a full recovery.
Petite Mouchoir won this race in 2017, and has finished third in the two most recent editions. Noel Meade will be hoping Beacon Edge can justify his Champion Hurdle entry with a big run at Leopardstown.
Saldier will be Willie Mullins third runner in this Grade One, with Winston C - who now represents American connections - rounding off the Irish Champion Hurdle entries.
2020 Irish Champion Hurdle Result
Irish Champion Hurdle Day Card
|12:55pm||Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m6f|
|1:25pm||Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (Grade 1) 2m|
|2:00pm||ERSG Arkle Novice' Chase (Grade 1) 2m1f|
|2:35pm||Matheson Handicap Chase (Grade B) 2m1f|
|3:10pm||Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m|
|3:45pm||Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) 2m|
|4:20pm||Future Stars Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m|
Irish Champion Hurdle History
The Irish Champion Hurdle was created in 1950. All-but-one of the editions of this Grade One have taken place at Leopardstown, with the 1995 renewal being the only one switched to Fairyhouse.
The great Hatton's Grace won the inaugural running of the Irish Champion Hurdle. Flyingbolt and L'Escargot won this Grade One during the 1960s, with future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Captain Christy scoring in 1973.
Another future Gold Cup winner, Dawn Run won the Irish Champion Hurdle in 1984, before following up in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham just weeks later. That feat was matched by Collier Bay in 1996.
Nomadic Way won the 1990 edition of the Irish Champion Hurdle, and went on to win the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham two year's later.
1998 saw Aidan O'Brien's Istabraq win the Irish Champion Hurdle for the first time. Istabraw would go on to win this Grade One four years in a row, while also sealing a hat-trick of victories in the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle.
Brave Inca would then win the Irish Champion Hurdle twice, scoring under AP McCoy in 2006, and again under Ruby Walsh in 2009. Inbetween, Hardy Eustace became the first ten-year-old to win since Hatton's Grace when he struck in 2007.
Hurricane Fly then surpassed Instabraq as the most successful horse in the history of the Irish Champion Hurdle. Willie Mullins' star won at Leopardstown for five years on the bounce between 2011 and 2015, while also winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2011 and 2013.
Mullins made it six wins on the bounce when Faugheen won the Irish Champion Hurdle in 2016. Faugheen was followed into the winners' enclosure by Petit Mouchoir and Jessica Harrington's Supasundae.
Two mares' have beaten the geldings in the two most recent Irish Champion Hurdle. Apple's Jade won for Gordon Elliott in 2019. Henry De Bromhead then lifted the trophy for a third time, when Honeysuckle maintained her unbeaten record.
Irish Champion Hurdle Winners