Punchestown Champion Hurdle Guide

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1. BUVEUR D'AIR

Trainer - Nicky Henderson

Jockey - Mark Walsh

The first horse in the mix for this Grade 1 is the Dual Champion Hurdler Buveur D'Air who could not add a third crown to his name after making a rare error at the third flight at the Cheltenham Festival

Some questions to answer given that he was beaten at Kempton in the Christmas Hurdle by stablemate Verdana Blue and also finished second to third favourite on Friday, Supasundae last time out at Aintree.

Best horse in the race on his day and has conditions to suit but his last few runs have not seen his best performances and hopefully Henderson has him primed for a big run on his Irish debut.

2. MELON

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey - Paul Townend

Mullins has two runners in this race and Melon looks to be his strongest hand really coming into his own into his last few runs like he did last season.

He had not performed to the best standard before his second in the Champion Hurdle, which in truth was a race that fell apart but nevertheless still stayed on to claim runner up for the second year in a row.

His fall last time out at Aintree is slightly worrying but he was travelling well before that and if getting round could squeak an each way place.

3. PETIT MOUCHOIR

Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Rachael Blackmore

This eight year old is a very experienced hurdler who in the past has won some nice Grade 1 contests but they look to be staying in the past.

Went on to fences and never really fulfilled his potential, now back to hurdles he has been a lot better but looks like becoming unstuck again in this better company.

Easily opposable.

4. SUMMERVILLE BOY

Trainer - Tom George

Jockey - Jonathan Burke

English raider that won the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2018 at the Cheltenham festival but has since been below par and this season has looked a shadow of himself.

It would have to take huge improvement for him to be involved but if finding a career best performance he may get involved.

Would prefer it softer.

5. SUPASUNDAE

Trainer - Jessica Harrington

Jockey - Robbie Power

Jessica Harrington's Supasundae put in a sparkling performance last time out over 2 1/2 miles in the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National meeting when seeing off Buveur D'air to land the contest.

The drop back to 2 miles is slightly worrying as he has optimum trip and conditions with soft ground last time and he may just find the pace a bit to quick but certainly in with a shout.

6. WICKLOW BRAVE

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey - Patrick Mullins

The 10 year old veteran and the second of Mullins runners in the race is Wicklow Brave who two starts ago finished a very unlucky second in the Grade 3 Coral Cup when just being pipped on the line.

Next time out just 12 days ago he took a nasty fall in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse. Hopefully he has come out of that well enough to make a challenge but he is an outsider for a reason and it would be a shock to see him win.

7. APPLE'S JADE

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Jack Kennedy

The last runner in the race and the only mare in the field is the superb Apple's Jade who was unbeaten in four starts this season winning some nice Grade 1 contests in Ireland.

She flopped in the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle with something a miss that day. She got back on track over three miles at Aintree in the Stayers Hurdle when finishing third in a three way photo finish.

More is needed again today in this company and she will need to quash those questions over her being quick enough over 2 miles.

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