Festival Fans
January 11, 2022

Entries were published today for the two blue-riband hurdle races at the Festival - the Champion Hurdle and Stayers' Hurdle.

And Irish raiders head the ante-post markets in both races.


Abacadabras, Adagio, Appreciate It, Aspire Tower, Buveur D’Air, Cask Mate, Glory And Fortune, Goshen, Monmiral, My Mate Mozzie, Not So Sleepy, Qulixios, Saint Felicien, Saint Roi, Sharjah, Song For Someone, Teahupoo, Tommy’s Oscar, Tritonic, Zanahiyr, Echoes In Rain, Epatante, Honeysuckle

Reigning Champion Hurdle champion Honeysuckle heads a list of 23 entries for the 2022 renewal (Tue 15th March).

Henry de Bromhead's mare was an emphatic winner last year and remains unbeaten over hurdles (13/13).

It is no surprise at all that she is the odds-on favourite to defend her title.

Willie Mullins has four entered including Sharjah, runner-up in the last two renewals, who won a fourth Matheson Hurdle last month, albeit not convincingly.

He could also throw Appreciate It into the mix as a fascinating potential challenger.

The wide-margin winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle last year has not been since, but has been kept over hurdles rather than campaigned over fences.

Nicky Henderson enters two previous winners in Epatante and Buveur D'Air.

Epatante looked back to her best in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day, while eleven-year-old Buveur D'Air could look to secure a remarkable hat-trick.

Gordon Elliott is another with four entries, the pick of whom appears to be Zanahiyr, last year's Triumph favourite who got back to winning ways at Down Royal in October.


Alaphilippe, Aspire Tower, Asterion Forlonge, Buveur D’Air, Champ, Cilaos Emery, Commander Of Fleet, Darver Star, Flooring Porter, Garo De Juilley, Gentlemansgame, Goshen, Grand Roi, Home By The Lee, Klassical Dream, Koshari, Lisnagar Oscar, McFabulous, Melon, Mr Adjudicator, Paisley Park, Santini, Sire Du Berlais, Song For Someone, Sporting John, Third Wind, Thomas Darby, Thyme Hill, Burning Victory, Indefatigable, Molly Ollys Wishes, My Sister Sarah, Royal Kahala

A total of 33 horses are entered for this year's Stayers' Hurdle (Thu 17th March).

And the 2019 Supreme Novices' winner, Klassical Dream, heads the ante-post market - one of eight Willie Mullins entries.

A runaway winner of the Stayers' Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival last season, he also won a contentious Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Paul Townend 'stole' six to eight lengths at the start of that race and won by two.

Others notable Mullins' contenders include the classy but quirky Asterion Forlonge, Melon, Burning Victory and Cilaos Emery.

Runner-up in that controversial Christmas Hurdle, was the returning Stayers' Hurdle champion, Flooring Porter.

Gavin Cromwell's star aims to become the first horse since Big Buck’s to defend the crown, while other former winners Paisley Park and Lisnagar Oscar are also entered.

Meanwhile, last years' runner-up Sire Du Berlais - dual winner of the Pertemps Final - is one of three entries by Gordon Elliott.

Another prominent in the market is Philip Hobbs' Thyme Hill, who missed last year's Festival but bounded to victory in the Stayers' Hurdle at Aintree soon after.

Nicky Henderson has two entries - two-time Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D’Air and former RSA Chase winner Champ.

A disappointment in last year's Gold Cup, Champ had been earmarked for another crack, but victory in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last month might prompt a rethink.