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  • State Man Caps An Incredible Season With Victory In Champion Hurdle At Punchestown.

State Man caps an incredible season with victory in Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.

State Man claimed his 10th Grade One triumph with another straightforward success when seeing off old rival Irish Point in the Boodles Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.

The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old made it a perfect five from five for the campaign by following up wins at the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham.

Irish Point gave State Man a decent work-out at Prestbury Park last month and Jack Kennedy was keen to push on at the head of affairs.

He was still in front turning for home but Paul Townend was sitting far more comfortably on State Man and they edged past approaching the final flight, where a much-better jump secured a decisive advantage.

To his credit, Irish Point battled on gamely all the way to the line, but 2/7 favourite State Man was always in control at that stage and ultimately obliged by two lengths.

It was a second straight success in this race for the victor, who has now come out on top in 12 of his last 13 races, only losing out to Constitution Hill at Cheltenham last year.

“A few of them had run a little disappointing today and we were a bit worried going out,” said Mullins.

“We were wondering what tactics Jack would use and the game went according to how we thought it would go.

“He just did what he normally does, pulled it out when he needed to pull it out.

“Paul said there was a cameraman on the line and he stopped to have a look and prick his ears at him. That’s the sort of horse he is, he’s just got lots of talent and he keeps doing it, which is huge.

“He’s very uncomplicated, he’s uncomplicated in his stable, he’s an old pet.”

When asked about future plans, he added: “Hurdling now is his career.

“He’s come a long way. He was a nice one in the County Hurdle and he was a nice one in a maiden hurdle at Limerick for 7lb claiming riders!

“He’s very easy to do anything with, a lovely horse.

“Irish Point would be a fair test, and we thought he was going to make it a fair test. Paul said he was going to ride him like he’s the best horse and forget about everything else. That’s where Paul is very good, things don’t get to him.”

READ MORE: The 2023/24 Grade 1 race calendar and results for the UK and Ireland National Hunt seasons

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