Jan 27 2017
Irish Champion Hurdle Tips and Betting Offers, Leopardstown, 29th January 2017
There’s a very exciting race fast approaching at Leopardstown on Sunday, the two mile Irish Champion Hurdle. The Grade 1 affair is one of Irelands’ top hurdle races and the equivalent to Cheltenham’s Champion Hurdle. It’s a race that has welcomed some truly great names including Hurricane fly who won on five consecutive occasions between 2011 and 2015.
Faugheen has been a dominant force over two mile hurdle races but he has a new challenger on the scene in the form of Petit Mouchoir. Henry de Bromhead’s gelding is considered a real challenger here, with the best odds available 5/2 with Totesport. It was his hugely impressive performance here at Leopardstown during the Ryanair Hurdle which has helped him stake a real claim here. While the recent course experience will be of use, the nature of the race might not have been the best preparation. He was able to enjoy a comfortable lead throughout and was never really challenged by the rest of the pack. He’s unlikely to enjoy such a luxury on Sunday and could well find it a lot harder to race prominently as he so often does.
It was Nichols Canyon that was the favourite for December’s Ryanair Hurdle but he simply did not show up on the day. Ruby Walsh was disappointed with how he ran and rightly so as the seven year old barely finished ahead of Jerl’s Girl and Ivanovich Gorbatov, horses he had beaten with ease just a month prior. It’s a performance which may have just been an isolated off day but even when running near the top of his game, he doesn’t really seem to have the turn of pace to deal with the two favourites. Heavy ground would’ve given him a better chance but with the forecast good to yielding, it might not been his day. At 6/1 with BetVictor however, you can’t say he isn’t well priced and as an each way bet.
With no horse quite looking like having the beaten of Faugheen here, it’s worth staking your money on the favourite. The only real concern for him is that he hasn’t featured since absolutely cruising to a win in this race last year due to a suspensory problem. Had it not been for that, he would surely be priced far shorter than he is here. Mullins hasn’t rushed the return of his prized nine-year-old and last week spoke of how well he had been training. There is always an element of risk when a horse returns after a lengthy absence but given the nature of the problem and the quality of Faugheen, it’s a risk worth taking.
The other two runners in this renewal of the Irish Champion Hurdle, Ivanovich Gorbatov and Footpad offer next to no appeal even at odds of 33/1 (Bet365) and 66/1 (BetVictor) respectively. Neither of them have shown anything to make you think they can compete with the other three horses here and even a top two finish looks beyond their reach.