Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle
Grade 1, Leopardstown 14:45
€200,000 guaranteed
4yo plus,
2m, Class 1  
Sunday 4th February 2024

Horses 468x60 Jpg

1 State Man 2/5F
2 Bob Olinger 11/1
3 Impaire Et Passe 100/30
4 ran NR: Fils D'Oudairies Distances: 5½l, 5l, 3¾l
Time: 4m 1.00s (slow by 16.00s)

State Man is poised for a rematch with Constitution Hill after successfully defending his title at Leopardstown.

After a stumble in his first race for Willie Mullins in December 2021, State Man has gone on to assert his dominance in the Irish division, securing victories in nine of his subsequent 10 races.

His sole defeat occurred at the hands of Constitution Hill, who triumphed by nine lengths in the Champion Hurdle at the previous Cheltenham Festival.

Although facing a challenging task to reverse the outcome in the upcoming Cotswolds event, State Man solidified his position as the primary contender by claiming his eighth Grade One victory under jockey Paul Townend. In this race, Impaire Et Passe attempted to lead throughout under Daryl Jacob, with State Man in close pursuit. Taking control before the home turn, State Man maintained a strong position in the straight, fending off a late challenge from Bob Olinger to secure victory by five and a half lengths.

Quinnbet maintained State Man's Champion Hurdle odds at 3-1, with Constitution Hill holding the favorite position at 1-5. The triumph marked a clean sweep of all eight Grade One races over the two-day Leopardstown event for trainer Willie Mullins.


On his Champion Hurdle bid, Mullins said: “We have our chance, State Man is out and racing and is going to go there in tip-top order. It’s all to play for.

“Everything is open. They (connections of Constitution Hill) are not going to be too worried and they’ll be confident enough they have enough in the locker to beat us no matter what we do.

“I doubt you’d be able to lock up Constitution Hill, as soon as he got one bit of daylight he’d be gone, and that wouldn’t be fair anyhow.

“All’s fair in love and war and you go and run. I don’t think there’ll be too many runners in it and a change of tactics might make all the difference.”

Mullins was impressed with State Man’s performance, but admitted the change of tactics had not worked out for Impaire Et Passe.

He added: “State Man is a lovely racehorse, himself and Galopin Des Champs, Fact To File and El Fabiolo have a lovely temperament, which is half the battle. When they’ve a good temperament, it means the trainer can train them the way they want to and the jockey can ride them the way he wants to. It makes life a lot easier for the people involved.

“I thought Christmas was his best performance up to today. Today’s race was different as we tried something different with Impaire Et Passe and he obviously didn’t enjoy being out in front. I think he’d take a lead and probably needs another half-mile and fences down the road.

“It was an experiment to go down the Champion Hurdle route with him this year, but it doesn’t look like it’s working. That (Aintree Hurdle) could be on the cards, but the Champion Hurdle is there and there’s only two horses in front of him for me and any one of those could get injured or run bad on the day and if you’re not in you can’t win it.”

Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle
2m , €200,000 guaranteed
4 ran
Going: Soft, Soft to Heavy in places

1    State Man 7 11-12 W P Mullins Paul Townend 2/5F

2 Bob Olinger 9 11-12 Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore 11/1
5 Impaire Et Passe 6 11-12 W P Mullins Daryl Jacob 100/30
Echoes In Rain 8 11-5 W P Mullins Danny Mullins 28/1
NR Fils D'Oudairies 9 11-12 Gordon Elliott NON RUNNER