Grade One Ballymore Champion Four Year Old Hurdle Guide 2021

Punchestown - April 30 2021
Punchestown 15:00
6
Rachael Blackmore

Quilixios

J:
 
Rachael Blackmore
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: 150
Days: 43

The gelding has only been seen four times in his career, winning in March at Compiegne in France in a conditions hurdle race and from there was bought by the owners and sent over to Ireland.

He made his debut for the yard at Punchestown earlier in the month and hosed up by 13 lengths, showing signs that Elliott could have another Envoi Allen.

He then went to Down Royal two starts ago in October and was another impressive winner of a 3-Y-O Hurdle, seeing off the field by 20 lengths.

Having been given some time off and trying to find a race for him, he ended up going to the Dublin Racing festival for the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle and was a very impressive winner.

Quilixios then went to the Cheltenham festival and was backed heavily before the off for the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle and under a great ride by Rachael Blackmore he ran out a nice winner.

That is why he is favourite for this event and if running to a similar level the gelding looks tough to beat.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
13/04/24AIN16GS11-75
12/03/24CHL16Sft11-78
12/01/24NAA16Sft11-81
25/11/23PUN24Sft11-36
22/10/23LIM19Sft11-121
Punchestown - April 30 2021
Punchestown 15:00
8
Jack Kennedy

Zanahiyr

J:
 
Jack Kennedy
T:
 
Mrs Denise Foster
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: 145
Days: 43

Another flat recruit, this time for team Denise Foster, Zanahiyr was a perfect three from three since being switched to hurdles, but lost that record at the Cheltenham festival.

Solid enough when winning his maiden in October, him and favourite Dark Voyager pulled miles clear of the remainder. Zanahiyr being the more professional on the day.

His next start earmarked him as a really smart sort. Winning a Grade Three hurdle he dispatched the well fancied Saint Sam for Willie Mullins without breaking sweat.

Backing up that effort in a Grade Two race for four year olds at Leopardstown, he was sent off favourite for the first time and obliged at a short price. Giving 3lbs to Busselton he asserted on the run-in to an impressive victory.

With his form stacking up he went into the Triumph Hurdle a hot favourite, but unfortunately flopped not running the race many thought he would.

He now needs to bounce back in this event and up against Quilixios once more makes it very tough.

Still respected.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
14/03/24CHL20Sft11-74
13/02/24THU16.5Sft/Hy11-121
28/12/23LEO21.5Sft11-122
03/12/23FAI20.5Sft11-124
18/11/23NAV20Sft/Hy11-32
Punchestown - April 30 2021
Punchestown 15:00
2
Paul Townend

Haut En Couleurs

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: N/A
Days: 43

Not a runner we know a whole deal about as he’s only had one start over in France and then made his British debut in the Triumph Hurdle.

Haut En Couleurs was narrow margin winner of his only hurdle start south of the Channel and after that he was picked up by the Donnelley family and the form of his only success has yielded subsequent winners.

In the Grade One Triumph Hurdle he finished a superb third behind Quilixios and Adagio and having now had a run under his belt he could well be in the frame once more.

Big eye-catcher.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/05/23AUT25.5VSft10-108
14/04/23AIN21Sft12-04
16/03/23CHL20.5Sft11-115
18/02/23GOW20Sft/Hy11-32
22/01/23THU20.5Y11-3F
Punchestown - April 30 2021
Punchestown 15:00
7
Danny Mullins

Saint Sam

J:
 
Danny Mullins
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: 143
Days: 46

Saint Sam is a horse who looks to have more ability left in the tank than the form of his runs actually suggest, finishing in behind some nice horses.

Having ran over hurdles three times in France between June and July, he was then bought and given to Mullins to race in Ireland.

He made his debut at Fairyhouse when going off favourite for the Grade Three event and was outclassed by Zanahiyr, with the Elliott horse winning by 14 lengths.

He took him on again at Leopardstown over Christmas in the Grade Two event and was underwhelming again when fourth of seven, finishing behind Zanahiyr, Busselton and stablemate Ha D'or.

He looked perfect for the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival, and went on to finish a narrow third behind Jeff Kidder who he was giving a fair bit of weight to.

Back in black type company he will have to come on again but he looks to be on a very progressive curve and could run a big race.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
17/02/24GOW20Hy11-61
17/09/23LIS20Gd11-6F
06/08/23GAL22.5Y11-101
15/05/23KLN20Gd11-31
16/04/23TRM21.5Sft11-41
Punchestown - April 30 2021
Punchestown 15:00
3
Sean Flanagan

Jeff Kidder

J:
 
Sean Flanagan
T:
 
Noel Meade
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: 137
Days: 26

Jeff Kidder for Noel Meade has been a revelation for the yard this term having been tried over both the flat and hurdles, but now looks solely to stay in this code of racing.

He made his seasonal debut at Fairyhouse in November seeing off a fair field to break his maiden tag at the third time of asking.

After that he went to Leopardstown for the Grade Two Juvenile Hurdle over Christmas and finished last of seven behind the likes of Zanahiyr and Saint Sam, running no race at all.

This run was obviously a blip, getting a very low handicap mark and exploiting it at the Cheltenham festival in the Boodles, by winning the 22 runner event.

Last time out at Fairyhouse he backed this up in good style in the Grade Two Juvenile Hurdle, when seeing off the likeable Teahupoo.

Big player if improving once more.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
31/12/23PUN19Hy11-67
03/12/23FAI16Sft11-57
01/09/23DRO24Gd/Y11-04
06/07/23TIP16Gd/Y11-16
10/06/23PUN20Gd/Y10-13UR
Punchestown - April 30 2021
Punchestown 15:00
4
Mark Walsh

Mica Malpic

J:
 
Mark Walsh
T:
 
D Cottin
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: N/A
Days: 193

The four year old Mica Malpic is one of the few French raiders to feature across the week and although being with JP McManus we do not know much about him.

He was first seen at Compiegne at June 2020 winning a conditions hurdle over 2m1f and then in October he completely flopped finishing last of six in a similar race.

The David Cottin trained animal looks to be a work in progress, but if they are pitching him into a race like this they must think highly of him.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
22/10/23LIM19Sft11-124
23/09/23LIS22Y/Sft11-05
25/08/23KLB25Sft11-103
12/08/23KLB19Y11-21
04/07/23TIP17Gd/Y11-03
Punchestown - April 30 2021
Punchestown 15:00
9
Donagh Meyler

Zoffanien

J:
 
Donagh Meyler
T:
 
Denis Gerard Hogan
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: 140
Days: 15

Coming towards the bigger priced horses in the market, Zoffanien for Denis Hogan has been frequently raced this term and although being largely consistent, this Grade One looks beyond him.

He has been seen seven times since the turn of the year, placing in six of those events whilst also winning two races.

Having won a nice handicap hurdle in February, he went into the Boodles at the Cheltenham festival and finished a respectable eight in a big field.

Since then he has been seen twice, finishing second at Cork in a handicap hurdle and getting back to winning ways at Ballinrobe early in the month.

He is a nice horse in his own right but at this level is opposable.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
25/02/24NAA15.5Sft11-65
21/01/24THU15.5Sft11-43
27/12/23LEO16Hy10-811
17/12/23THU16Y11-105
18/02/23GOW20Sft/Hy11-11F
Punchestown - April 30 2021
Punchestown 15:00
1
Hugh Morgan

Druid's Altar

J:
 
Hugh Morgan
T:
 
Joseph Patrick O'Brien
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: 131
Days: 46

The penultimate runner in the event is the Joseph O'Brien trained Druid's Altar who like Zoffanien is a lovely horse but is not good enough at Grade One level.

Another frequently raced horse this term the gelding started on the flat in June and got off the mark at the fifth time of asking at Listowel.

In November he made his hurdles debut at Punchestown and got off the mark at the first time of asking, but then when stepping up into Grade Two and Three company against Zanahiyr and Saint Sam he was massively outclassed.

He bounced back to a bit of form when chasing home Teahupoo in January and off the back of that he landed his second race over hurdles in a novices event.

Pitched into the Boodles at the Cheltenham Festival, he was a weak 15th and on that form has it all to do.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/09/21WEX20Gd11-11
21/08/21KLN20Gd10-121
29/07/21GAL18.5Gd10-54
10/07/21LIM19.5Gd11-21
11/06/21CLO16.5Gd10-82
Punchestown - April 30 2021
Punchestown 15:00
5
Denis O'Regan

Palace Rock

J:
 
Denis O'Regan
T:
 
Francis Casey
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: N/A
Days: 56

The final runner of the event is the Francis Casey trained Palace Rock who has had a very strange career to date, starting off over 6f at Naas.

He was then upped to 10.5 and 12 furlongs at Dundalk and on his third start managed to get off the mark for his career.

The geldings trainer then decided to send him over hurdles and he made a very taking debut at Navan, winning a 19 runner maiden by close to four lengths.

This horse could turn out to be anything, but at this stage of his career this looks a very hot race.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
08/03/24DUN12St8-53
23/02/24DUN12St9-62
04/02/24LEO16Sft10-7BD
12/01/24DUN12St9-82
22/12/23DUN16St9-74