December Festival Hurdle
The December Festival Hurdle, currently known by its sponsored title of the Ryanair Hurdle, is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race in Ireland which is open to horses aged four years or older. It is run at Leopardstown over a distance of about 2 miles (3,219 metres), and during its running there are eight hurdles to be jumped. The race is scheduled to take place each year during the Christmas Festival meeting in late December.
Prior to 2013 the race was named the Istabraq Festival Hurdle in honour of Istabraq, who won it four times. The race took its current title in 2013 when Ryanair began sponsoring the race. Former titles of the event included the paddypower.com iPhone App Hurdle, Sean P. Graham Memorial Hurdle and the Bookmakers Hurdle. The race was first run in 1986, and it has held Grade 1 status since 2002. It is often used as a trial for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Three horses have won both races in the same season – Istabraq three times, Hurricane Fly twice and Brave Inca once.
- Most successful horse – Istabraq, 4 wins (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001)
- Most successful jockey – Charlie Swan, 6 wins (1992, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001)
- Most successful trainer – Paddy Mullins, 6 wins (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994)
- Amateur jockeys indicated by "Mr".
- Lamb, Jessica. "Leopardstown signs festival deal with Ryanair". racingpost.com. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Racing Post:
- pedigreequery.com – December Festival Hurdle – Leopardstown.