State Man Reigns 'Supreme'

A masterclass performance secures victory in Constitution Hill's absence

State Man Reigns 'Supreme'
State Man Reigns 'Supreme'

State Man delivered a performance that was true to form, clinching the Unibet Champion Hurdle with a display of efficiency and skill on Day One of the Cheltenham Festival. In the absence of Constitution Hill, State Man capitalised, maintaining a strong position just behind the leaders throughout the race. He accelerated impressively in the final stretch, overtaking the tenacious Irish Point to secure the victory.

This triumph marked State Man's fourth Grade 1 victory in as many races this season, elevating his total of major wins to nine, surpassing the absent Constitution Hill by two. As the 2-5 favorite, expectations were high for State Man in this race, and he lived up to them with ease, under the assured guidance of jockey Paul Townend. Townend, who chose an inside route early in the race, enjoyed a trouble-free ride, with State Man demonstrating both comfort in his pace and the agility to navigate past leaders for a clear win.

Paul Townend, celebrating his first Champion Hurdle win, praised State Man for his straightforwardness. "He's a simple horse to ride," Townend remarked, acknowledging that he could have delayed his move but never questioned State Man's endurance. He highlighted the horse's significance to him, stating, "He's an old favorite of mine and deserved a big day like this."

Reflecting on the previous year's competition with Constitution Hill, Townend added, "He's a champion back home. Constitution Hill was too good for him here last year and he deserved his day in the sun."

Willie Mullins, State Man's trainer, achieved his fifth win in this event, expressing surprise at Townend's tactical choice to ride more conservatively than anticipated. "I was amazed with the way Paul rode him and expected him to be way more forward," Mullins shared. Mullins has many runners in the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

He commended Townend's confident and speed-focused riding strategy, highlighting the jockey's exceptional skill.

"State Man is probably a better horse around Leopardstown but he's a Champion Hurdle winner. You've got to turn up to win a Champion Hurdle and we turned up,"

Mullins concluded, celebrating their successful strategy and State Man's outstanding performance.