Irish Champion Hurdle Betting Tips – 3rd February 2018
Henry de Bromhead became the first trainer other than Willie Mullins to win the Irish Champion Hurdle in seven years with Petit Mouchoir’s victory last year.
In each of the six previous renewals it was the combination of Mullins and jockey, Ruby Walsh, that was triumphant this Grade 1 hurdle held over two miles at Leopardstown.
Mullins’ wonderful recent record is largely down to Hurricane Fly, a horse many believe to be one of the greatest hurdlers of all time. His sixth win, however, came courtesy of Faugheen and the appearance of the horse known as the Machine that all racing fans are talking about ahead of the Dublin Racing Festival.
We hope you are all ready for this weekends Dublin Racing Festival - top class racing, top class entertainment and top class craic! Make sure you prebook your tickets at https://t.co/2pltA2RlZ4 before midnight tomorrow to avail of a €5 discount #DublinRacingFestival pic.twitter.com/1h8mwgz6kO— Leopardstown RC (@LeopardstownRC) January 30, 2018
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Past Five Winners
2017 – Petit Mouchoir, aged 6, ridden by David Mullins, trained by Henry de Bromhead
2016 – Faugheen, aged 8, ridden by Ruby Walsh, trained by Willie Mullins
2015 – Hurricane Fly, aged 11, ridden by Ruby Walsh, trained by Willie Mullins
2014 – Hurricane Fly, aged 10, ridden by Ruby Walsh, trained by Willie Mullins
2013 – Hurricane Fly, aged 9, ridden by Ruby Walsh, trained by Willie Mullins
Tough to Look Past the Top Two in the Betting
There is absolutely no doubting that Faugheen is a hurdler of the very highest calibre. He’s a multiple Grade 1 winner and became officially the highest rated hurdler of the 21st century following his Irish Champion Hurdle win in 2016.
Faugheen’s winning return to action after the best part of two years at Punchestown saw floods of bets come in for the 10-year-old for Cheltenham success. However, he was pulled up last time out at Leopardstown, a disappointment which has seen Buveur D’Air become the bookies favourite for the Champion Hurdle.
Rich Ricci, Faugheen’s owner, and Mullins have spoken positively about his chances of roaring back to form on Saturday. While he remains the bookies’ favourite, Faugheen’s price has drifted as support comes in for stablemate, Melon.
Melon is a very interesting option not just for the Irish Champion Hurdle but also for Cheltenham (he’s 8/1 to win the Champion Hurdle with Boylesports). The six-year-old is improving all the time and was impressive enough in the International Hurdle where he was beaten by the experienced My Tent Or Yours and The New One.
There are still some doubts about Faugheen’s appearance at Leopardstown on Saturday which only strengthens the appeal of Melon at 7/4 with Ladbrokes. That price will shorten considerably if Faugheen is pulled from the race so we’d suggest taking it while you can.
It may also be worth taking a position on Melon in the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle ante post market.
Where to Turn for an Each-Way Bet?
The domination of Willie Mullins’ horses in recent years has made the Irish Champion Hurdle a profitable race for favourite backers. However, each-way punters have also secured some healthy pay outs.
The questions about the top of the market suggest that an each-way play makes good sense on Saturday but which horse?
Well, we would suggest lending your support to George Elliott’s impressive charge, Samcro. However, it looks as though he’ll be sticking to novice hurdles at the Dublin Racing Festival so instead, back Supasundae at 14/1 with Coral.
Jessica Harrington’s eight-year-old did some very good work in handicap hurdles last season and has served it up to some of the best hurdlers around in two appearances this season.
The son of Galileo has already beaten the likes of Jezki and Mick Jazz who he’ll be facing on Saturday and has more than enough to claim a place at Leopardstown.