Punchestown Champion INH Flat Race

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The Punchestown Champion Bumper (or INH Flat Race) is a Grade 1 race for amateur riders over two miles at the April Punchestown Festival meeting.

The Champion INH Flat Race takes place on the 1st of May 2024.

It was first run in 1992 and is an obvious target for horses who ran in the Cheltenham Champion Bumper the previous month.

Notable winners include Like-A-Butterfly (2001), Champagne Fever (2012), Bellshill (2015) and Tornado Flyer (2018).

The race frequently includes horses that have already competed in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, and Cousin Vinny won both events in 2008 as did Fayonagh in 2017 and Facile Vega in 2022.

Find out more about the Punchestown Champion Flat Race:

Punchestown Champion INH Flat Race

Race Overview – Punchestown Bumper

The Champion INH Flat Race is a Grade 1 National Hunt flat race for amateur riders held in Ireland.

It is available to horses aged four to seven years old. It is held annually at Punchestown over a distance of approximately 2 miles and 1/2 furlong during the Punchestown Festival in late April or early May.

The Punchestown Champion INH Flat Race is the Irish equivalent of the Cheltenham Champion Bumper.

Punchestown Champion INH Flat Race Previous Winners

Check out the previous winners for this race:

1992Tiananmen Square4Tim HydeNoel Meade
1993Dramatic Touch5David MarnaneLiam Browne
1994Aries Girl5Eoghan NorrisPatrick J. "Pat" Flynn
1995Maringo6Tony MartinWillie Mullins
1996Noble Thyne6Tom MullinsPaddy Mullins
1997Arctic Camper5Robert ThorntonDavid Nicholson
1998King's Road5Gordon ElliottNigel Twiston-Davies
1999Our Bid8Philip CarberryKevin Prendergast
2000Liss A Paoraigh5Paul CrowleyJohn Kiely
2001Like-A-Butterfly [a]7J. T. McNamaraChristy Roche
2002Supreme Developer5Pat MurphyTony Mullins
2003Royal Rosa4Aidan FitzgeraldNicky Henderson
2004Geill Sli6Alan CroweNoel Meade
2005Refinement6Alan BerryJonjo O'Neill
2006Leading Run7Nina CarberryNoel Meade
2007Mick the Man6Nina CarberryNoel Meade
2008Cousin Vinny5Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2009Sweeps Hill [b]5J. P. MagnierJohn Kiely
2010Hidden Universe4Robbie McNamaraDermot Weld
2011Lovethehigherlaw5Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2012Champagne Fever5Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2013The Liquidator5Jane ManganDavid Pipe
2014Shaneshill5Jamie CoddWillie Mullins
2015Bellshill5Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2016Blow By Blow5Katie WalshWillie Mullins
2017Fayonagh6Jamie CoddGordon Elliott
2018Tornado Flyer5Richie DeeganWillie Mullins
2019Colreevy6Jamie CoddWillie Mullins
no race 2020 [c]
2021Kilcruit6Derek O'ConnorWillie Mullins
2022Facile Vega5Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2023A Dream To Share5John GleesonJohn Kiely

Champion INH Flat Race 2022 Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

Famous Punchestown Champion INH Flat Race Winners

The inaugural running in 1992 was won by the four-year-old Tiananmen Square, trained by Noel Meade and ridden by Tim Hyde.

Willie Mullins was always likely to prosper in this event and he won it for the first time in 1995 with Maringo. Surprisingly, he had to wait until Cousin Vinny in 2008 for his next victory.

Like-A-Butterfly won in 2001 for Christy Roche and JT McNamara. The mare went on to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2002 and the Irish Champion Hurdle in 2003. Her other victories included the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle and the Deloitte Novice Hurdle.

Mullins took a firm grip on the Punchestown Bumper from 2011 to 2022, winning it on a further eight occasions during that ten-year spell. 2012 winner Champagne Fever won ten of his 21 career starts including the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle the following season. He came within a whisker of winning the Arkle Challenge Trophy, being caught in the final stride by 33-1 outsider Western Warhorse in 2014.

Mullins domination of the race has only been punctuated by David Pipe’s Liquidator (2013) and Gordon Elliott’s Fayonagh (2017). Bellshill (2015) went on to win the Irish Gold Cup in 2019. Tornado Flyer (2018) sprang a huge surprise when lifting the King George VI Chase in 2021. 2019 winner Colreevy won the Punchestown Champion Novice Chase in 2021, defeating her better-fancied stable companion Monkfish.

Key Punchestown Champion Bumper Trials

Six of the last eleven winners of the Punchestown Champion Bumper had their previous start in the Cheltenham Champion Bumper. Two of the six had won and three had been placed, making this by far the most significant trial.

Five of the last eleven winners ran in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham the following season. Only Champagne Fever (2012) was successful while 2014 winner Shaneshill finished second. The 2016 winner Blow By Blow also ran at the Cheltenham Festival the following year, winning the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Title.

Surprisingly there have only been two winning favourites in this race in the last eleven renewals. Champagne Fever was 11-4 favourite in 2012 and Fayonagh returned a well-backed 11-8 favourite in 2017.

A further six of those winners were either second or third favourite so shock results are rare.

The longest-priced winning during the last eleven seasons was Blow By Blow at 14-1 in 2016.

Tornado Flyer was a 12-1 shot when winning this race in 2018.

All but one of the last eleven winners were aged five or six.

Hidden Universe won as a four-year-old in 2010 for Dermot Weld and Robbie McNamara.

Like-A-Butterfly (2001) and Leading Run (2006) won this race at the age of seven.

All eleven winners had raced at least twice under rules and won at least once.

Four had a least one previous victory in a Grade 1 to 3 race.

Punchestown Champion Bumper – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Willie Mullins has a phenomenal record in the Punchestown Bumper with eleven victories. His full list; Maringo (1995), Cousin Vinny (2008), Lovethehigherlaw (2011), Champagne Fever (2012), Shaneshill (2014), Bellshill (2015), Blow By Blow (2016), Tornado Flyer (2018), Colreevy (2019), Kilcruit (2021) and Facile Vega (2022).

Patrick Mullins rode three of those winners while Jamie Codd rode two and was also successful on Gordon Elliott’s Fayonagh (2017). They currently share the honour of leading jockey in the race with three winners apiece. Nina Carberry won it on Leading Run (2006) and Mick The Man (2007) and Katie Walsh won it on Blow By Blow (2016).

Noel Meade has trained four Punchestown Champion Bumper winners, the most recent being Mick The Man.

There have been five British-trained winners; Arctic Camper (1997), King’s Road (1998), Royal Rosa (2003), Refinement (2005) and The Liquidator (2013).

Betting on the Punchestown Champion Bumper

The Punchestown Champion Bumper has turned into a Willie Mullins benefit in recent times.

The field sizes have stood up pretty well and, rather like in the Cheltenham Champion Bumper, it is not necessarily the stable number one who finishes in front.

The Cheltenham Bumper form is the most obvious form guide but there could still be some each-way value in a race which has produced numerous Grade 1 winners over both hurdles and fences.

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Summary of the Punchestown Champion Bumper

The Champion Bumper at Punchestown is a highlight of the festival.

Often many of the runners from the Cheltenham equivalent lock horns again, it has produced many top-class horses over the years.

Always a race to enjoy and saviour!

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