The Irish Champion Hurdle is a Grade One race over 2 miles for horses aged four years or more. It is run at Leopardstown race course and takes place in January. It is Ireland's premier hurdle race and has a glittering roll of honour of past winners. Over recent years it has become more than a trial for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival instead it is likened to a pre-run as their will be several of the top hurdles from both Ireland and the UK who will be in both races.
The race was won in 2009 by Brave Inca, who had previously won the race in 2006, when he also won the Champion Hurdle. Other recent dual winners include the brilliant Hardy Eustace and the incomparable, Istabraq who won this race four times on the bounce between 1998 and 2001 and won the Champion Hurdle three years running from 1998 until 2000, sadly he was denied a four timer by the cancellation of the 2001 Cheltenham Festival.
The 2010 race was won by ante-post favourite and previous December Festival Hurdle winner Solwhit who justified the bookmakers' short odds to emerge victorious.
|1st||2. Hurricane Fly||R Walsh||W Mullins||4/7|
|2nd||4. Our Conor||D E Mullins||D Hughes||5/1|
|2002||Ned Kelly||6||Edward O'Grady|
|2005||Macs Joy||6||Jessica Harrington|
|2006||Brave Inca||8||Colm Murphy|
|2007||Hardy Eustace||10||Dessie Hughes|
|2008||Sizing Europe||6||Henry de Bromhead|
|2009||Brave Inca||11||Colm Murphy|
|2011||Hurricane Fly||7||Willie Mullins|
|2012||Hurricane Fly||8||Willie Mullins|
|2013||Hurricane Fly||9||Willie Mullins|
|2014||Hurricane Fly||10||Willie Mullins|
The Champion Hurdle is the premier hurdling race for horses in Europe, which is raced over two miles, over eight fences on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival.
It was won in 2009 by the Nicky Henderson trained, Punjabi who had very generous odds of 22/1, although he was a much better chance than that.
Binocular emerged victorious in 2010 to overhaul ante-post favourite Zaynar. Binoclar had been well backed in the ante-post betting and emerged victorious ahead of a strong field. It is likely to be a strong field again and a real highlight in 2011 and it is well worth keeping an eye on the odds ahead of the start of the prestigious Cheltenham Festival....
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