Irish Champion Hurdle Betting Tips: Jade Goes For Supa Crown
- Back Melon for Irish Champion Hurdle at 3/1 with Paddy Power
- Back Supasundae to Win at 11/4 with Black Type
Apple's Jade drops back in trip on Saturday to test her Champion Hurdle credentials in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown
Unstoppable at any level over 2m4f and 3m, she has cantered to two Grade 1 victories this season, but now faces 2018 Champion Hurdle second Melon and the reigning Irish Champion Hurdle winner Supasundae over a distance she hasn't won over in three years.
In fairness, she hasn't exactly tried, and despite that, is already as short as 5/1 in antepost betting to win this year's Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival - connections suspiciously adamant that will never be her target.
Regardless their thoughts, she has a huge opportunity to prove it should be at the Dublin Racing Festival, and only five are set to stand in her way.
Is There A Trends Pick?
Irish Champion Hurdle trends are skewed by the five successive victories of the all-conquering Hurricane Fly, from 2011-2015. However, by largely discounting all but his first win, and going back to Foreman's 2004 success, we find some interesting trends to consider.
Irish Champion Hurdle Trends
- Follow course form - 17 of the past 20 winners had won at Leopardstown over hurdles, including 9 of last 10. Exception: Faugheen
- Ignore youth - 35 horses have failed to emulate five-year-old 1992 winner Chirkpar, including favourite Theatreworld in 1997
- Respect ratings - One winner since 2008 was not rated highest by the handicapper, 2018 winner Supasundae
- Trust class - One winner since 2003 had not run in a Grade 1 hurdle, one winner in the past 13 years had not won a Grade 1 hurdle. Both Sizing Europe.
- Expect experience - The last 15 winners had run at least six times over hurdles, 13 running at least 10 times
- Consider stamina - One of the last 15 winners had not won over further than 2m, 2 winning over 2m2f and 12 over at least 2m4f - but none further than 2m5f.
- Cheltenham key - In the last 20 years, only Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winners have won more than one Irish Champion Hurdle
In a nutshell, to find an Irish Champion Hurdle winner based on trends, you're looking for a Leopardstown winner, who is also a Grade 1 winner, has been around the block, and can stay beyond 2m up to 2m5f.
Generally, the winner is the highest rated in the field, and aged between 6-8, with five-year-olds finishing particularly badly, though not many were fancied runners.
The pick on trends is Supasundae, from a shortlist including nine-time Grade 1 winner Apple's Jade and former Irish Champion Hurdle winner Petit Mouchoir - remember, only Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winners have won more than one Irish Champion Hurdle in the 21st century.
>> Back Supasundae to Win at 11/4 with Black Type
Apple's Jade Speed Test
Nothing has stopped Apple's Jade (5/4 Bet365) this season, and her skinny odds in the Irish Champion Hurdle betting bill her as a Solwhit-style machine, which she certainly will be if winning.
During his glittering career, Solwhit won Grade 1s over 2m, 2m4f, and 3m, landing the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham, Liverpool and Aintree Hurdles at the Grand National meeting, and the Irish and Punchestown Champion Hurdles, as well as finishing second in the 3m1.5f French Champion Hurdle.
He was a more complicated ride, needing cover early to come with a late run and never winning by more than a few lengths. Apple's Jade is his opposite there, winning three races this season by a combined 57 lengths.
The one key rival she hasn't met though is Melon.
Pace Key To Melon Chances
Trainer Willie Mullins' only contender Melon (3/1 Paddy Power) could well win the Irish Champion Hurdle thanks to Apple's Jade and her style of running.
The front-running mare, a Grade 1 winner over 2m4 and 3m, will ensure Melon gets the strongly-run race he craves, and received when beaten only a neck by Buveur D'Air in last season's Champion Hurdle.
Even on the Flat in France, Melon's best performances came in big fields, where a good pace was guaranteed, his form in races with more than 10 runners reading: 1122 - versus less than 10: 8242135F4.
He's not going to get more than five rivals on Saturday, but he will get that pace and has to strip fitter for his rather flat return at Leopardstown in December. What Melon needs now is another round of jumping like at Cheltenham, a sight rarely seen.
>> Back Melon for Irish Champion Hurdle at 3/1 with Paddy Power
Ground Turns For Supasundae
When Supasundae (11/4 Black Type) won last year's Irish Champion Hurdle, the ground was testing, and the race run perfectly to suit, which the Ryanair Hurdle was not when he was second last time out.
That day last February he met a regressing Faugheen, about to embark upon a new staying career, and an unhappy, hooded Melon, who next time out would almost win the Champion Hurdle.
He was rated the same as Melon then (159), now that rival edges 1lb above the somewhat fortunate 2018 Punchestown Champion Hurdle winner, but Supasundae would still be a formidable foe if the ground were to relent.
It is good to yielding at present, rain, sleet and snow forecast to close in from Tuesday-Thursday, so no one is expecting heavy ground, but the more testing it is, the greater Supasundae's chances, if anyone has one against Apple's Jade anyway.
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