Punchestown Champion Hurdle

The Punchestown Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 race for four-year-olds and upwards over two miles at the Punchestown festival meeting in late April.

The race was introduced to the Punchestown Festival in 1999 when it was won by three times Champion Hurdler Istabraq.

Subsequent notable winners include record four-time winner Hurricane Fly (2010-2013), Faugheen (2015) and Honeysuckle (2021).

The field normally includes horses who have already competed in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, and Honeysuckle was the last horse to win both races in the same year in 2021.

Find out more about  the Punchestown Champion Hurdle:

Punchestown Champion Hurdle

Race Overview – The Paddy Power Punchestown Champion Hurdle

The Punchestown Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race held in Ireland for horses aged four and up.

It is held at Punchestown and consists of nine hurdles to be jumped over a distance of approximately 2 miles.

Each year, the race takes place in late April or early May during the Punchestown Festival.

The Punchestown Champion Hurdle is the Irish equivalent to the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle.

For a time, the event was only open to horses aged five and over, but in 2009, the minimum age was decreased to four.

Punchestown Champion Hurdle Tips

Our tips for the Punchestown Champion Hurdle are:

  • Our Punchestown Champion Hurdle 2022 NAP pick is Honeysuckle to win.
  • Our Punchestown Champion Hurdle 2022 Outsider Selection is Teahupoo on an EW bet.

Punchestown Champion Hurdle Odds

Listed below are the 2022 odds for the Punchestown Champion Hurdle:

  • Honeysuckle – 1-4
  • Epatante – 7-1
  • Saint Roi – 14-1
  • Zanahiyr – 14-1
  • Teahupoo – 14-1
  • Adagio – 25-1

Punchestown Champion Hurdle Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer
2011 Hurricane Fly 7 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2012 Hurricane Fly 8 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2013 Hurricane Fly 9 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2014 Jezki 6 Tony McCoy Jessica Harrington
2015 Faugheen 7 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2016 Vroum Vroum Mag 7 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2017 Wicklow Brave 8 Patrick Mullins[b] Willie Mullins
2018 Supasundae 8 Robbie Power Jessica Harrington
2019 Buveur d’Air 8 Davy Russell Nicky Henderson
no race 2020 [c]
2021 Honeysuckle 7 Rachael Blackmore Henry de Bromhead

Famous Punchestown Champion Hurdle Winners

The Punchestown Champion Hurdle could hardly have had a better result to the inaugural running than Istabraq in 1999. Aidan O’Brien’s gelding won the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle for three successive seasons from 1998 to 2000 and the Irish Champion Hurdle four times (1998-2001). He won 23 of his 29 races over hurdles and was ridden by Charlie Swan on every occasion.

Moscow Flyer (2001) is better remembered for his exploits over fences, winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2003 and 2005 and the Arkle Challenge Trophy in 2002. Dual Champion Hurdler Hardy Eustace added his name to the roll of honour in this race in 2004 with Brave Inca following suit in 2005.

Istabraq was one Irish racing legend and so too was Hurricane Fly who dominated this race between 2010 and 2013. He won a record 22 Grade 1 races for Willie Mullins during his career, surpassed only by the Australian flat racer Winx (28). Hurricane Fly won the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle on two occasions (2011, 2013). In doing so, he became the first horse since Comedy of Errors (1975) to regain his crown.

Jezki (2014), Faugheen (2015) and Buveur D’Air (2019) were also Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winners, the latter winning it twice for Nicky Henderson (2017, 2018). Faugheen had looked set to dominate the two-mile hurdling division after his impressive Cheltenham success but injury intervened.

The latest Cheltenham winner to add their name to the Punchestown list was Honeysuckle in 2021. Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore teamed up with this remarkable mare who comfortably added a second Champion Hurdle victory in 2022. That extended her unbeaten career record to fifteen races, ridden by Blackmore in each of them.

Key Punchestown Champion Hurdle Trials

The Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham has provided 7 of the last eleven winners of this race. Five of them won both races in the same season.

Two placed horses in the Aintree Hurdle also won here during the same period.

Seven of the last eleven winners ran in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival the following season. Hurricane Fly won it twice while Honeysuckle was also successful.

Punchestown Champion Hurdle Betting Trends

Favourites have a great record in this race in recent years. There have been seven successful outright favourites and one joint-favourite in the last eleven seasons.

All seven winning favourites started odds-on with Faugheen the shortest at 1-6 in 2015. Hurricane Fly started 3-1 second favourite for his first victory in 2010 but was odds-on for his subsequent three victories.

The only genuine surprise during that period was Wicklow Brave (2017) who returned at 12-1 for Willie Mullins.

Supersundae was 7-1 third favourite when winning for Jessica Harrington the following season.

An official rating of 164 or higher is usually required to win this race.

The lowest rated winner in recent years was Vroum Vroum Mag (2016) on 154.

The highest-rated winners were Hurricane Fly (2012, 2013) and Faugheen (2015) on 173.

The minimum age was lowered from five to four in 2009 but no juvenile hurdler has yet won the race.

The oldest winner was Hurricane Fly (2013) at the age of nine.

Eight of the last eleven winners had won at least once at Punchestown.

Ten of the last eleven had won at least four times over hurdles and had one or more Grade 1 victories to their credit.

Punchestown Champion Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

As with so many of the feature races at the Punchestown Festival, Willie Mullins leads the way in the trainer stats. He has a record eight Punchestown Champion Hurdle victories under his belt; Davenport Milenium (2002), Hurricane Fly (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), Faugheen (2015), Vroum Vroum Mag (2016) and Wicklow Brave (2017).

Jessica Harrington has trained the winner on four occasions; Moscow Flyer (2001), Macs Joy (2006), Jezki (2014) and Supasundae (2018). There have only been three British-trained winners; Quazar (2003), Punjabi (2008) and Buveur D’Air (2019).

Ruby Walsh leads the all-time jockey stats with six victories, all on the Mullins horses. The only rides he missed were Hurricane Fly’s first victory and Wicklow Brave’s 2017 success.

Betting on the Punchestown Champion Hurdle

The Punchestown Champion Hurdle often sees the Cheltenham Champion hurdler having their last run of the season.

The fine record of odds-on favourites reflects the fact that it is usually little more than a lap of honour and the field has only once made it into double figures in the last ten years.

It looks more of a race to celebrate the reigning champion than look for an upset.

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  • BetBull Betting App

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  • Betfred Betting App

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  • William Hill Betting App

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  • Paddy Power Betting App

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Summary of the Punchestown Champion Hurdle

The Punchestown Champion Hurdle is a brilliant new addition to the racing calendar.

In its short history, many of the Champions from Cheltenham have come to crown their seasons at Punchestown.

It’s one of the races of the week at the Festival and one we look forward to every year.

2022 Punchestown Festival Related Articles

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These include reviews of betting sites and Punchestown Festival races, Punchestown tips and more.

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