Grade One Punchestown Champion Hurdle Guide 2022

Jake Russell | @JakeRuss1000

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 16:25
Rachael Blackmore


J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
Age: 8
Weight: 11-5
OR: 165
Days: 45

When we talk about current Champion Hurdlers, Honeysuckle is at the forefront of our minds, she’s unbeaten in all of her career starts to date (15 wins in 15 runs, including 11 wins at the highest level of Grade 1) including a 3 and a half-length winner of the Champion Hurdle this season at the Cheltenham Festival, with a Mares Hurdle win two years before also.

She’s had her usual preparation this season again with a run in the Hatton’s Grace, Irish Champion Hurdle and Champion Hurdle at the Festival, which she won those two races by just under 19 lengths with plenty of top-class horses well beaten in behind her.

The Henry De Bromhead is such a slick jumper and a very strong traveller, she has also won at a slightly further distance in the past, making it very hard to get her beat in the race, no matter how the race is run, she has the stamina in her locker to stay on should they go quick, and plenty of boot to speed away when it really matters should it become a sprint in the final parts of the race.

She is certainly the class act horse of the meeting with plenty of racing fans solely going to watch her on the Friday.

She will be incredibly hard to beat in this, with the usual 7lb mares allowance meaning she will be 7lb’s better off in the weights than most of the other runners, giving her a big advantage on the others, but her talent does that anyway.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 16:25
Mark Walsh

Saint Roi

J: Mark Walsh
T: W P Mullins
Age: 7
Weight: 11-12
OR: 156
Days: 45

The Willie Mullins charge is one of the highest rated horses in the field apart from Honeysuckle, so that might speak for something.

He won the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival back in 2020, beating Aramon by just under 5 lengths, really looking like a potential Graded horse in the making.

Things haven’t really gone to plan since then, although he did win a Grade 3 contest since that Festival feat, that was the run after that where he won at Tipperary, with the form figures of 2-4-4-3-4-4 since his County Hurdle success.

He has been contesting in some pretty decent contests however, most of them being Grade 1 affairs, but he has finished behind Honeysuckle on two occasions now and it's hard to see him not finishing behind her again.

His run last time out in the Champion Hurdle at the festival was a creditable one, but he was 8 lengths behind Honeysuckle that day, so hard to think he can reverse the form here.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 16:25
Paul Townend

Echoes In Rain

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 11-5
OR: 149
Days: 45

The second of two mares in the field, she like the rest of the runners in this race have something to prove and really need to step up to upset the favourite, but she has the very valuable 7lb’s mares’ allowance which sets her in good stead against the other male runners, but her form this season doesn’t particularly suggest the step back down to 2 miles will suit her.

She ran with credit last time out in the Mares Hurdle where she finished 5th, but nothing suggests from her form this season that this 2-mile trip will benefit her, especially up against some top-class horses. Probably best to watch her in this contest.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 16:25
Tom Scudamore


J: Tom Scudamore
T: David Pipe
Age: 5
Weight: 11-12
OR: 152
Days: 45

Epatante was supposed to take the trip over to Ireland to line up for the UK, but she hasn’t so our hope falls on the David Pipe trained Adagio, who is a pretty decent horse in his own right.

He ran a blinder in the Greatwood Hurdle when carrying a lot of weight with him, finishing second behind West Cork that day, and ran another top race once again in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton in February.

He disappointed in the Champion Hurdle last time out when he was a well beaten 8th of 10 runners and does really look up against it in this.

He has already finished behind Honeysuckle once and I can see that happening again, as he would need to step up ratings wise considerably to land a blow in this, but it is nice to see a UK runner taking their chances.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 16:25
Robbie Power


J: Robbie Power
T: Gordon Elliott
Age: 5
Weight: 11-12
OR: 160
Days: 45

The trainer of Teahupoo Gordon Elliott has never won the Champion Hurdle before, which comes to a surprise to many racing fans as he is a very good trainer, and unfortunately that is still the same now with Teahupoo not running any sort of race in this year’s renewal.

Teahupoo has only had the seven career runs, but he has won five of those runs, and is a multiple Grade 2 winner, but yet to win at the highest level of Grade.

He is certainly a work in progress but is really progressing well as he seems to take a huge step forward with each run, apart from last time out where something was probably amiss with him.

His win last time out at Gowran was exceptional, he jumped superbly and powered away down the straight to win by 11 lengths, with a previous Graded winner well beaten in behind.

He lacks the experience of some of the runners in this year’s race, but he looks an exciting prospect and with usual progression he could improve over most of these, with a few of the other runners being slightly more exposed.

Teahupoo is currently a very decent price, and I can see him finishing well should that last run not have left a mark on him.

Punchestown - April 28 2022
Punchestown 16:25
L P Dempsey


J: L P Dempsey
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien
Age: 9
Weight: 11-12
OR: 153
Days: 11

The outsider of the field who arrives at this race in top form, with three wins this season over hurdles, including a Grade 2 last time out at Fairyhouse.

Again, this is another horse stepping down from 2m4f to 2-miles, which doesn’t particularly look like it will suit, but he does have some good form in behind and is quite a big price

Interesting runner at a big price but needs to step up form to another level to win this, against some out and out 2 milers.