The Punchestown Champion Hurdle is a Grade 1 Hurdle run over two miles on the Friday of the Punchestown Festival. The triple champion Hurdler Istabraq won the first edition in 1999, whilst other stars to win the race include Moscow Flyer, Hardy Eustace, Brave Inca, Punjabi, Hurricane Fly, Faugheen, and Jezki.
Check out our trends, runner-by-runner guide, and free tip for the 2019 Punchestown Champion Hurdle.
Punchestown Champion Hurdle 10-Year-Trends
The last nine winners of the Punchestown Champion Hurdle have been aged six, seven, eight, or nine.
Six of the last 10 winners had won last time out, but neither of the last two had. Nine of the 10 winners had also run between 15 and 52 days earlier, though Hurricane Fly recorded the first of his four wins in the race on the back of a 159-day absence.
The last 10 runners have all been trained in Ireland, but Punjabi did win the 2008 edition for English trainer Nicky Henderson. However, the most successful trainer has been Willie Mullins who has won seven of the last nine runnings.
Punchestown Champion Hurdle 2019 Runner-By-Runner Guide
The 2017 and 2018 Champion Hurdle winner has had an up and down season so far. He looked as good as ever when winning the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on his seasonal debut before getting turned over by stablemate Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle. He then won a third Contenders Hurdle at Sandown before falling when his bidding for a Champion Hurdle hat-trick. However, he looked like he would have won at Aintree if he hadn’t been impeded by a horse falling in front of him and he has an obvious chance.
Finished second in the Champion Hurdle for the second year running this season but was perhaps flattered by the three market leaders failing to run their race. He was again running well at Aintree when falling and impeding Buveur D’Air three hurdles from home, but the gut-feeling is he would have only finished third that day if he had stood up. However, he was also going well in last year’s renewal of this race when falling three out, and he looked to be going just as well as the winner at that point.
Former high-class hurdler who won an Irish Champion Hurdle and finished placed in a Champion Hurdle. However, he was no match for Buveur D’Air on the second of those occasions and the evidence is he has regressed considerably since.
Looked to have a massive engine when winning the 2018 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, despite making mistakes, but he has been well below his best in three runs this season. He finished well behind Supasundae and Buveur D’Air last time at Aintree and needs to have thrived since to turn that form around.
Won last year’s renewal when beating the previous year’s winner Wicklow Brave into second but may have been lucky that day as both the favourite Samcro and Melon fell three out. He was again the beneficiary of Melon falling at this year’s Aintree Festival, as that stopped Buveur D’Air in his tracks just when he was looking the likely winner.
Has run well to be first and second in the last two editions of the Punchestown Champion Hurdle but has had 13 runs since last year’s race. That didn’t stop him running very well behind Espoir D’allen three starts ago or when second in the Coral Cup. However, he was a massive drifter in the market last time before falling. Should find one or two too good for him at the age of 10.
Looked like she had improved again when notching-up a four-timer earlier this season but, for the second year running, she has not looked quite at her brilliant best in the spring. She was a dismal flop in the Champion Hurdle and was only third in a weak-looking three-mile contest at Aintree last time. She also ran below her best when third in the mares’ race at last year’s Punchestown Festival and it’s asking a lot of her to bounce back to her best here.
Punchestown Champion Hurdle Verdict 2019
Summerville and Petit Mouchoir would need career bests by some way if the market leaders run up to form, whilst it’s also asking a lot of Wicklow Brave to win at the age of 10. Meanwhile, Apple’s Jade has the talent but hasn’t shown it at this time of year in the last couple of seasons.
That means the finish could be fought out between Melon, Supasundae, and Buveur D’Air. Melon is probably at his best in the spring, but he has still been beaten at the last two Punchestown Festivals, whilst Supasundae is likely to again go close after winning last year’s edition. However, Buveur D’Air remains the best horse in the race and, having enjoyed no luck at Cheltenham or Aintree, he’s fancied to show his class providing the luck isn’t against him here.