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Willie Mullins: State Man’s Irish Champion Hurdle win seal trainer’s festival clean sweep

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Since falling on his first start for Willie Mullins at this track in December 2021, State Man has been the dominant force in the division in Ireland, winning nine of his next 10 outings.

His only defeat during that period came at the hands of Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill, who proved nine lengths too strong in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last season.

Despite State Man’s successful defence of the Irish Champion Hurdle, Constitution Hill remains a strong favourite going into Cheltenham but Mullins was happy with his horse’s Leopardstown performance after another accomplished ride from Townend.

“We have our chance, State Man is out and racing and is going to go there in tip-top order. It’s all to play for,” said the trainer.

“Everything is open. [Constitution Hill’s connections] are not going to be too worried and they’ll be confident enough they have enough in the locker to beat us no matter what we do.”

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