The BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle takes place at Leopardstown on Sunday 26th January. The race has been won by some of the best Irish hurdlers of recent times including Brave Inca, Hardy Eustace, Istabraq and Hurricane Fly, who will be looking to win this for fifth straight year. The two key races, which provide pointers for this recently, are the Punchestown Champion Hurdle and Ryanair Hurdle.
Below we take a look at the trends for the past 10 years:
6yos have the best individual record having won 5 of the last 13 renewals and were not represented in 5 of the other 8 runnings since 2002.
5 of 6 winners 8+ had previously won the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle (other was 3rd in previous season’s Champion Hurdle)
10 of 10 winners finished in first 3 last time (8 won)
9 of 10 winners (last 6) posted an RPR of 160+ last time
9 of 10 winners had run 2 or 3 times that season (exception was making seasonal debut but had won previous year's race)
9 of 10 winners had won a grade 1 hurdle (exception had won the grade 3 Greatwood handicap hurdle and was having his first run at grade 1 level)
9 of 10 winners had previously won at Leopardstown (1 exception was placed on both previous runs here)
8 of 10 winners had won over 2M 4F+
Previous year's winner (Hurricane Fly): 2222111 (3-4-7)
Punchestown Champion Hurdle winner (Jezki): 31311111 (6-1-8)
Ryanair Hurdle winner (Hurricane Fly): 1123411411 (6-1-10)
Morgiana Hurdle winner (Hurricane Fly): 18512311 (4-1-8)
Champion Hurdle winner (Jezki): 37211 (2-1-5)
Star Best For Racing Coverage Novice Hurdle winner (Arctic Fire): 1 (1-0-1)
Ascot Hurdle winner (Faugheen): 12 (1-1-2)
Herald Champ Novice Hurdle winner (Faugheen): 284 (0-1-3)
Triumph Hurdle winner (Tiger Roll): 2 (0-0-1)
Kempton Christmas Hurdle winner (Faugheen): 5 (0-0-1)
7 of 10 winners ran in Ryanair Hurdle last time, finishing 1131111
7 of 10 winners ran in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle, finishing 1311111
5 of 10 winners finished ran in previous Cheltenham Champion Hurdle, finishing 34131
5 of 10 winners ran in the Morgiana, finishing 31111
5 of 10 winners ran in previous year's Irish Champion Hurdle, finishing 27111
3 of 10 winners ran in the Aintree Hurdle, finishing F21
3 of 10 winners had run in the Hatton's Grace, finishing 321
Willie Mullins (4-1-9) saddled Hurricane Fly to win this for past 4 years.
Jessica Harrington (1-3-6) has gained a win and 3 places from her 6 runners since 2005.
9 of 10 winners (last 7) were priced 10/3 or shorter
Favourites (7-2-11) have won 7 of the last 10 giving a level stakes profit of 2.39.
Based on the trends from the past 10 years you are looking for a horse:
- Aged 6 or a previous Champion Hurdle winner
- Won last time out (finished no worse than 3rd)
- Posted an RPR of 160+ last time
- Run 2 or 3 times this season
- Previously won a grade 1 hurdle
- Previously won at Leopardstown
- Finished in first 4 in a grade 1 at 2014 Cheltenham Festival
- Finished in first 3 in 2014 Irish Champion, Morgiana and/or Hatton’s Grace Hurdle
- Won the Ryanair and/or Punchestown Champ Hurdle
- Priced 10/3 or shorter (favourite has a strong record).