Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle

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The Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle is a Grade 1 race over two miles on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival. The race is confined to novice hurdlers aged five years or upwards.

The Champion Novice Hurdle takes place on the 4th of April 2024.

Willie Mullins has dominated this event in recent times with a record eight victories in twelve seasons.

Notable past winners include Moscow Flyer (2000), Brave Inca (2004), Hurricane Fly (2009), Jezki (2013) and Faugheen (2014).

The Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle is the Irish equivalent of the Cheltenham Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle. The competition usually includes horses that have previously competed in this race (also known the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle). Mikael d’Haguenet was the last horse to win both races in 2009.

Keep reading to find out more about the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle:

Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle

Punchestown Champion Novices Hurdle – Race Overview

The Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle competition held in Ireland for horses aged four and up.

It is run in Punchestown racecourse over a distance of approximately 2 miles and 4 furlongs, with twelve hurdles to be leapt during the race.

The race is for novice hurdlers and takes place each year in late April or early May during the Punchestown Festival.

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Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle Previous Winners

Check out the previous winners for this race:

1949Cadamstown911-04J BroganJ Powell
1950Culworth910-12R CurranW (Charlie) Hall
1951Culworth1011-06R CurranW (Charlie) Hall
1952Ballymagillan610-09Pat TaaffeTom Dreaper (Ir)
1953Irish Lizard1010-04Dick FrancisFrenchie Nicholson
1954Little Yid1210-11G SlackBobby Renton
1955Stormhead1111-12P FarrellW (Charlie) Hall
1956John Jacques910-08J PowerWalter Wharton
1957Roughan1011-00Harry EastNeville Crump
1958Roughan1111-02Fred WinterNeville Crump
1959Clanyon1111-04Grenville UnderwoodW Johns-Powell
1960Fresh Winds911-01Stan MellorRoy Whiston
1961Cupid's Charge611-03Bill ReesPeter Cazalet
1962Dagmar Gittell710-11Josh GiffordBobby Renton
1963Barberyn811-09Michael ScudamoreW (Arthur) Stephenson
1964Red Tide710-06Jeff KingBob Turnell
1965Hopkiss710-12E P HartyAlec Kilpatrick
1966Walpole1011-05Josh GiffordRyan Price
1967Georgetown710-07P MahoneyNoel Kusbish
1968Surcharge1010-08S DavenportJohn Barclay
1969Dozo810-05Eddie HartyToby Balding
1970Charter Flight811-12Johnny HaineBob Turnell
1971Rigton Prince1011-01John EnrightW (Arthur) Stephenson
1972Sunny Lad810-08Ken WhiteFred Rimell
1973Inch Arran911-02David MouldPeter Cazalet
1974Clear Cut1011-08Jonjo O'NeillW (Charlie) Hall[2]
1975Our Greenwood712-00Tommy CarberryJim Dreaper (Ir)
1976Lictor910-00David SunderlandEdward Courage
1977Churchtown Boy1010-00Chris ReadTaffy Salaman
1978Canit810-00Colin TinklerFred Rimell
1979Artic Ale810-08John Fowler[a]Dan Moore (Ir)
1980Uncle Bing1111-11John FrancomeRichard Head
1981Mr Marlsbridge810-10Paul BartonDavid Gandolfo
1982Beacon Time810-09Kevin MooneyFulke Walwyn
1983Tiepolino1110-04Hywel DaviesKevin Bishop
1984Fabulous1110-00Andrew StringerJ S Wilson
1985Smith's Man710-00Mark PerrettJenny Pitman
1986Glenrue910-02Richard DunwoodyTerry Casey
1987Strath Leader911-10Tom MorganJohn Edwards
1988Wiggburn910-02Mike WilliamsAnne Hewitt
1989Villierstown1011-10Simon SherwoodW (Arthur) Stephenson
1990Wont Be Gone Long811-07Richard DunwoodyNicky Henderson
1991J-J-Henry1210-10Anthea Farrell[a]Peter Beaumont
1992The Antartex910-02Richard DunwoodyGordon W. Richards
1993Sirrah Jay1310-00Adrian MaguireToby Balding
1994Indian Tonic810-04Chris MaudeNigel Twiston-Davies
1995Dublin Flyer912-00Brendan Powell SnrTim Forster
1996Joe White1011-00Paul CarberryHoward Johnson
1997Bells Life811-04Glen TormeyPhilip Hobbs
1998Cyfor Malta511-01Tony McCoyMartin Pipe
1999Listen Timmy1011-08Tony DobbinSteve Brookshaw
2000Northern Starlight911-05Tony McCoyMartin Pipe
2001Gower-Slave910-07Richard JohnsonPhilip Hobbs
2002Its Time For A Win1010-12Ruby WalshWillie Mullins
2003Clan Royal810-02Liam CooperJonjo O'Neill
2004Cassia Heights910-00Jim CullotySteve Brookshaw
2005Cregg House1010-05Davy RussellShane Donohoe
2006Liberthine710-04Sam Waley-Cohen[a]Nicky Henderson
2007Dunbrody Millar910-00Jamie MoorePeter Bowen
2008Gwanako511-08Ruby WalshPaul Nicholls
2009Irish Raptor1010-00Paddy BrennanNigel Twiston-Davies
2010Always Waining910-00Brian HughesPeter Bowen
2011Always Waining1010-04Tom O'BrienPeter Bowen
2012Always Waining1110-11Tom O'BrienPeter Bowen
2013Triolo D'Alene610-07Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2014Ma Filleule611-07Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson
2015Rajdhani Express811-08Sam Waley-Cohen[a]Nicky Henderson
2016Eastlake1010-11Barry GeraghtyJonjo O'Neill
2017Ultragold910-05Harry CobdenColin Tizzard
2018Ultragold1011-01Harry CobdenColin Tizzard
2019Cadmium711-01Paul TownendWillie Mullins
no race 2020 [b]
2021Livelovelaugh1111-00Patrick Mullins[a]Willie Mullins
2022Mac Tottie910-00Sean BowenPeter Bowen
2023Bill Baxter710-04Sam Twiston-DaviesWarren Greatrex

Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle 2022 Result

Check out the latest result from this race:

Famous Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle Winners

The Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle was open to four-year-olds until 1992.  Jim Bolger’s Vestris Abu (1990) was the last winner from this age group.

Dawn Run won the race as a five-year-old in 1983, going on to become the only horse in racing history to land the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. She was also the only horse to complete the English, Irish and French Champion Hurdle treble.

Klairon Davis won in 1994 and won the Arkle Challenge Trophy the following year. He went on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1996. 2000 winner Moscow Flyer also went on to an illustrious career over fences, culminating in Cheltenham Champion Chase victories for Jessica Harrington in 2003 and 2005.

2004 winner Brave Inca won the Punchestown Champion Hurdle the following year and the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle in 2006. He also won the Irish Champion Hurdle in 2006 and 2009 among his fifteen career victories, amassing almost £1 million in prize money.

There have been three further subsequent Champion Hurdle winners of the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle. Hurricane Fly (2009), Jezki (2013) and Faugheen (2014) all went on the Cheltenham glory. Hurricane Fly was one of the greatest Irish hurdlers of all time, winning 24 times from 32 starts over the lower obstacles.

He won the Champion Hurdle in 2011 and 2013, the Punchestown Champion Hurdle four times and the Irish Champion Hurdle five times.

Hurricane Fly’s 2009 victory also signalled the start of a period of total domination for Willie Mullins in the race.

Key Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle Trials

Four of the last eleven winners ran in the Hardy Eustace Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse, two of the winning and two of them being placed.

Another key trial for the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Two winners and one placed horse from the Supreme have been successful in this race. Douvan (2015) and Klassical Dream (2019) both followed up their Supreme Hurdle victories in this race for Willie Mullins.

There have been four winning favourites in the last eleven seasons; Faugheen (2014), Douvan (2015), Klassical Dream (2019) and Echoes In Rain (2021). All four were trained by Willie Mullins and started odds-on, the shortest-priced being Douvan at a prohibitive 1-6.

Blackstairmountain (2010), Alderwood (2012) and Jezki (2013) were all second favourites while Cilaos Emery (2017) was third-best in the market.

There have also been a couple of shock winners. Draconien (2018) sprang a 25-1 surprise in 2018 and Don’t Touch It (2016) returned at 16-1.

An official rating of 139 or higher is usually required to win the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle. Only Shot From The Hip (2011) and Draconien (2018) have fallen below that figure in recent times on 136.

The highest-rated winner in recent seasons was Douvan (2015) on 160.

Eight of the last eleven Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle had raced at least once at this track, five of them having at least one course victory.

All eleven had won at least once over hurdles and had raced at least three times in the current season.

Five-year-olds have been the most successful age group in recent years, winning five of the last six renewals.

The oldest winners in the history of the event were the eight-year-olds Hotel Minella (1995) and Alderwood (2012).

Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Willie Mullins has an incredible recent record in this race with eight victories in the last twelve renewals. His winners were Hurricane Fly (2009), Blackstairmountain (2010), Faugheen (2014), Douvan (2015), Cilaos Emery (2017), Draconien (2018), Klassical Dream (2019) and Echoes In Rain (2021).

Ruby Walsh was aboard four of those winners and also partnered Iktitaf (2006) for Noel Meade, making him the most successful jockey in the history of the race.

Jessica Harrington has trained the winner of the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle on four occasions; Dance Beat (1996), Moscow Flyer (2000), Jezki (2013) and Don’t Touch It (2016).

Edward O’Grady and Noel Meade also trained four winners apiece, their most recent coming in 2011 and 2008 respectively.

Betting on the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle

Betting on the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle has predictably been dominated by Trainer Willie Mullins. He usually has several top-class two-mile novice hurdlers in his care.

The betting market does not really take shape until he confirms running plans and he is difficult to oppose on the evidence of recent seasons.

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Summary of the Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle

The Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle is normally a high-class clash of emerging talent.

Dominated by Willie Mullins, who always has strength and depth in that department, it is often a race to spot a star of the future in.

It is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the Punchestown Festival and one of your favourites.

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