Irish Champion Hurdle: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

Honeysuckle at Fairyhouse
Timeform pick out their 1-2-3 in the Irish Champion Hurdle on Saturday

Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown and pick out their 1-2-3...

"She is still unexposed, is open to further improvement and looks the one to beat..."

Timeform on Honeysuckle

1. Aramon (Willie Mullins/Danny Mullins)
Useful hurdler who won the For Auction Novices' Hurdle at Navan, as well as the Future Champions Novices' Hurdle at Leopardstown in 2018/19. Shaped as if better for the run when a long way behind Sharjah in the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown last time but is likely to struggle at this level.

2. Darver Star (Gavin Patrick Cromwell/Jonathan Moore)
Won a novice at Listowel in September to complete the hat-trick before following up in a listed novice at Limerick the following month. Ran well when 4 lengths third to Envoi Allen in Royal Bond Novices' Hurdle at Fairyhouse last time, unable to go with the first two but coming home comfortably on top of the rest. Useful in this sphere but has plenty to find on form in this contest.

3. Klassical Dream (Willie Mullins/Paul Townend)
Last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner who completed the four-timer when landing the Champion Novices' Hurdle at Punchestown in April. Lost for the first time under Willie Mullins when too exuberant in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November and suffered a similar fate when well-beaten last of 5 to Sharjah in Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown last time, close up when all but came down at the fourth and not persevered with once held. Ended last season as the top novice hurdler and shouldn't be underestimated.

4. Monsieur Lecoq (Jane Williams/Lizzie Kelly)
Generally progressive in his novice campaign, winning twice before an excellent second in the Imperial Cup and an eye-catching run in the County Hurdle. Followed up his Welsh Champion Hurdle win at Ffos Las in October with a couple of solid performances at Cheltenham before finishing a good 9 lengths second to Not So Sleepy in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot last time. Smart hurdler but looks out of his depth here.

5. Petit Mouchoir (Henry de Bromhead/Davy Russell)
Very smart hurdler who finished third in the Champion Hurdle in 2017 before a somewhat disappointing spell over fences. Got back near best when 3¾ lengths second of 5 to Sharjah in Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown last time and the booking of Davy Russell a plus, but he will have his work cut out against some top performers.

6. Saglawy (Willie Mullins/Mark Walsh)
Won a Grade 2 juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse and produced a good effort when 1¼ lengths third to Wonder Laish in a handicap at the same course in 2018/19. A winner on the Flat since, he shaped well when 3¼ lengths second of 7 to Burrows Saint in minor event at Punchestown back over hurdles last time. Not the trainer's first string by any means.

7. Sharjah (Willie Mullins/Patrick Mullins)
Very smart hurdler who won the Galway Hurdle and Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, and the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown in 2018/19. Failed to complete in last year's Champion Hurdle through no fault of his own and, though below form in the Morgiana Hurdle this term, proved better than ever when winning the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown last time by 3¾ lengths from Petit Mouchoir. Mullins's yard is in good form at the minute and he is a major player.

8. Supasundae (Jessica Harrington/Robbie Power)
2017 Coral Cup winner who landed the Aintree Hurdle by 1¼ lengths from Buveur d'Air in 2018/19. Finished a good 2½ lengths second to the same rival in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle in May, rallying well from last. Off nine months and has it all to do.

9. Ballycaines (Brendan Murphy/Sean Flanagan)
Fair maiden on the Flat and a similar level over hurdles. Seventh of 13 in a handicap at Dundalk last time and yet to get off the mark in either sphere. Way out of his depth here.

10. Honeysuckle (Henry de Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore)
Very promising mare who maintained her 100% record in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse last time, taking her form to new levels. She is still unexposed, is open to further improvement and looks the one to beat in this field, particularly receiving weight from all her rivals.

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