State Man Form ‘Underwhelming’ – Handicapper

A steady pace resulted in a slow time

State Man won the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday.

The 2-5 favourite, ridden by Paul Townend, was runner-up last year but went one better in the absence of defending champion Constitution Hill.

State Man (Paul Townend) at the lead-in (Pic – Cheltenham Racecourse)

State Man saw off Irish Point in second, with Luccia third.

Nicky Henderson, who saddled Luccia, ruled Constitution Hill out of the race last week after a poor workout.

Mullins was asked after the race how he felt State Man would have fared had Constitution Hill had been fit to compete.

“He’s probably a better horse around Leopardstown, but he’s a Champion Hurdle winner,” said Mullins.

While State Man was a worthy winner, given his overall achievements this season, the form of the race had an underwhelming feel, suggests BHA Handicapper Andrew Mealor.

State Man (169) looked head and shoulders above the opposition after landing all three of Ireland’s Grade 1 two miles races previously this season – not to mention his clear second to Constitution Hill in last year’s race – and he didn’t need to run near his best to justify skinny odds in what was a rather muddling affair.

A steady pace resulted in an overall time 1 second slower than the earlier Supreme (albeit State Man carried 3 lb more than Slade Steel), and the proximity of outsiders Luccia (140 pre-race, albeit not fully exposed) and nine-year-old Colonel Mustard (exposed in the mid-to-high 140s) restricts the bare form level.

As such, it’s likely that State Man only had to run to a rating around the 160 mark in winning, which is a fair way below the level that would normally be expected in a Champion Hurdle – the average winning figure for the previous five renewals (with the 7lb mares’ allowance added back on) is 170.

Irish Point (159) gave State Man most to think about and clearly ran well, especially as a stronger gallop/more of a stamina test would have suited given his form over further.

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