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2023 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.
2023 Irish Champion Hurdle Odds
*Odds taken on 24/1/23*
2023 Irish Champion Hurdle Tips
When the field is announced and the odds are released, we'll publish our guide to the 2023 Irish Champion Hurdle.
2023 Irish Champion Hurdle Entries
Honeysuckle suffered the first defeat of her career on her reappearance in the Hatton's Grace, where Henry De Bromhead's mare was beaten into third by Teahupoo and Klassical Dream. Honeysuckle is, however, still unbeaten over two miles and returns to Leopardstown looking for her fourth-straight victory in this Grade One.
The defending champion sits second in the betting behind State Man, who's risen to the top of the two-mile hurdle ranks in Ireland, thanks to victories in the Morgiana and Matheson Hurdles this season. Willie Mullins' star beaten stablemates Vauban and Sharjah when collecting the Matheson Hurdle here over Christmas and both could return to take on State Man at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Willie Mullins could also be represented by Echoes In Rain and Sir Gerhard, who's also entered up in the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival. Gordon Elliot could run Pied Piper and Zanahiyr, with both looking to bounce back following poor efforts over Christmas. Thomas Mullins' Takarengo is the final entrant in this year's Irish Champion Hurdle.
2022 Irish Champion Hurdle Result
|3rd||Echoes In Rain||25/1|
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