Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle

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The Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle is a Grade 1 race over three miles at the April Punchestown festival meeting.

The Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle takes place on the 2nd of May 2024.

The race was formerly run as the Tipperkevin Hurdle until being renamed in 1997. The race is a target for winners of the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. The last horse to win both races in the same season was David Nicholson’s Anzum in 1999.

Other notable winners include four-time winner Quevega (2010-2013), Jezki (2015) and Faugheen (2018).

The Champion Stayers Hurdle is Ireland’s counterpart of the Stayers’ Hurdle and Anzum was the last horse to win both events in the same year in 1999.

Read on for more information about the Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle:

Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle

Race Overview – Punchestown Stayers Hurdle

The Champion Stayers Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race open to horses aged four and up.

It is held at Punchestown and there are fourteen hurdles to be jumped over a distance of approximately 3 miles.

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

The race will take place each year in late April during the Punchestown Festival.

Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle Previous Winners

Check out the previous winners for this race:

2013Quevega9Ruby WalshWillie Mullins
2014Jetson9Davy RussellJessica Harrington
2015Jezki7Mark WalshJessica Harrington
2016One Track Mind6Gavin SheehanWarren Greatrex
2017Unowhatimeanharry9Noel FehilyHarry Fry
2018Faugheen10David MullinsWillie Mullins
2019Unowhatimeanharry11Mark WalshHarry Fry
no race 2020 [c]
2021Klassical Dream7Patrick MullinsWillie Mullins
2022Klassical Dream8Paul TownendWillie Mullins
2023Klassical Dream9Paul TownendWillie Mullins

Famous Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle Winners

Michael Cunningham’s Derrymoyle won the race three times in four seasons (1995, 1996 and 1998). The gelding won ten of his 62 races under rules and also finished third here in 1997 behind British-trained Paddy’s Return.

Britain also won it for the next two seasons with Anzum (1999) and Rubhahunish (2000).

Limestone Lad was a popular winner at the age of 10 in 2002. His 35 career wins included three Hatton’s Grace Hurdles and three Morgiana Hurdles. He was owned and trained by James Bowe.

The most famous winner of this race was Quevega who reeled off four successive victories for Willie Mullins between 2010 and 2013. The brilliant mare is best known for her record six successive Cheltenham Festival victories in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle. She attempted a fifth Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle victory but could not catch 20-1 shot Jetson.

Jetson was trained by Jessica Harrington who also trained 2015 winner Jezki. He had always been highly regarded and was purchased by JP McManus. His investment paid off handsomely with victory in the 2014 Cheltenham Champion Hurdle. The versatile gelding won 16 of his 39 starts with other notable victories including the Punchestown Champion Hurdle (2014) and the Aintree Hurdle (2015).

2018 winner Faugheen was also a Champion Hurdle winner at Cheltenham (2015). His Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle victory came late in his illustrious career at the age of ten. He even managed to win a Grade 1 race over fences in the autumn of his career before eventually retiring to join the living legends at the Irish National Stud.

Unowhatimeanharry joined the list of multiple winners of this race with victories for Harry Fry in 2017 and 2019. Another expensive JP McManus purchase, he recorded his second victory at the age of eleven.

Willie Mullins won the race for a record eighth time in 2021 with Klassical Dream.

Key Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle Trials

The Champion Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham is the key guide for this race, although it is over twenty years since a horse completed the double.

Quevega always ran here after winning the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham but she was truly unique.

The Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National meeting is another race likely to provide valuable clues to the outcome of this event.

Four of the last eleven winners ran in the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival the following season. Only Faugheen (2018) managed to get placed.

Surprisingly no favourite has been successful in this race since Quevega’s four consecutive victories (2010-2013). The great mare started market leader on all four occasions and was odds-on at 8-11 in 2011. She was also odds-on when attempting a fifth victory in 2014.

Jetson’s 20-1 victory was the longest-priced winner during the last eleven seasons. Unowhatimeanharry (2019) was a 16-1 chance when recording his second success having started 4-1 second favourite in 2017.

There is no obvious age bias in this race with horses winning from six to eleven years old.

One Track Mind (2016) won as a six-year-old while Unowhatimeanharry (2019) equalled the age record of eleven set by Carlys Quest (2005).

Nine of the last eleven winners had won at least once at Punchestown and had at least one victory in a Grade 1 to 3 hurdle.

The race almost always goes the way of an experienced hurdler with all eleven having won at least three races over the smaller obstacles.

An official rating of 156 or higher is usually required to win this race.

Jetson (2014) was the lowest-rated winner in recent years on 145 while the highest rated was Jezki the following year, rated 169.

Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

The four successive victories of Quevega account for half of the Willie Mullins tally of eight Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle winners. His other victories were Holy Orders (2003), Fiveforthree (2009), Faugheen (2018) and Klassical Dream (2021).

Ruby Walsh was on board Quevega for three of her four victories and also won on Asian Maze (2006) and Fiveforthree (2009).

Michael Cunningham’s three wins with Derrymoyle are followed by two victories for Jessica Harrington, Harry Fry and Jonjo O’Neill.

Summary of Punchestown Stayers Hurdle

The Punchestown Stayers Hurdle is one of the main races of the Punchestown meeting.

In recent years, favourites have a poor record but it is always a quality and highly anticipated race.

It is one of the final big hurdle races of the season.

Find out more on the in-depth list of horse racing fixtures 2024 in Ireland.

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