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    State Man hopes for an ideal season with Boodles Champion Hurdle success
State Man hopes for an ideal season with Boodles Champion Hurdle success
State Man. Source: Racing Post

State Man hopes for an ideal season with Boodles Champion Hurdle success

On Friday, State Man will attempt to complete an impeccable campaign in  the Boodles Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.

Since making his Willie Mullins debut two and a half years ago, the seven-year-old has essentially been spotless, in the twelve races that he has since made, the only horse to defeat him is the formidable Constitution Hill.

State Man has successfully defended the Irish Champion Hurdle, the Matheson Hurdle, and the Morgiana Hurdle this season. He also seized the opportunity to win the Champion Hurdle in March after Constitution Hill's untimely withdrawal from the Cheltenham Festival.

With just three opponents, the Chestnut is a heavy favourite to win twice in a row at Punchestown, and the Closutton handler is full of respect for a horse that seems to run on its own schedule.

“He’s in great shape and he’s just a really healthy horse,” said Mullins. “He turns up every day and having a horse like that is wonderful for the owners as you arrive at every festival you want, you’re there on the big days and hopefully you’re good enough to win and he has been very good. He’s got his Champion Hurdle and he is the kind of horse you want. It’s lovely having a superstar, but sometimes a superstar can only come out one day of the year and owners have horses to have days out and to enjoy the social side of racing.”

Irish Point, the runner-up in the Champion Hurdle, and Lorna Fowler's yard's Colonel Mustard, in fifth place, rekindle State Man's rivalry.

Although she is willing to take a chance, Fowler is realistic about her chances of becoming a stable star.

She said: “Cheltenham took a lot out of him and he needed every bit of that time to recover. We thought of bringing him to Aintree and Ayr, but he just wouldn’t have been ready. I think he’s got the tank full again having had the time. We know what we’re up against, but we’ll do our best and it’s as simple as that. It’s a pleasure to have a horse run in that calibre of race and he does bring it to the table every time. And the other thing is, it is a horse race. There are jumps involved. I know what price we are and we’re right to be that price but anything can happen, and if you’re not in, you can’t win.”

Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: “We’ve been really happy with State Man since Cheltenham. He’s obviously going to bid to follow up on last year’s victory and emulate Honeysuckle, who won the two editions before that.”

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