TWO British-trained horses are set to tackle the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle at Punchestown on Friday – in what is now the richest hurdle race in Ireland.
On top of the £131,000 for the winner, the big-race sponsors are offering up a €100k (£87,000) bonus for any British horse that wins the race, meaning either Epatante or Goshen could scoop over £200,000.
Paddys Power's Punchestown bonus comes off the back of an historic Cheltenham Festival, where Irish runners won 23 of the 28 races.
British stables were left to do some serious soul-searching having been dominated in their own backyard.
They have a point to prove and cheeky Irish bookies Paddy Power have now dangled a tantalising carrot to encourage them to come and have another go.
Epatante was third in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham behind Irish duo Honeysuckle and Sharjah, who are also set to run on Friday.
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Meanwhile, Goshen is looking to get his career back on track after a bitterly disappointing effort in which he hung across the track and was well-beaten at halfway.
The unbeaten supermare Honeysuckle is Paddy's 4-7 favourite for Friday's race with Epatante next in the betting at 9-2. Goshen is a 10-1 chance.
But despite Honeysuckle being a hot favourite, the British will have been buoyed by earlier results at Punchestown.
On Wednesday, the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux beat off Al Boum Photo to win the Punchestown Gold Cup.
And on Thursday, Anthony Honeyball's Sully D'Oc AA won a red-hot handicap chase.
Spokesperson Paddy Power said: "In for a penny, in for one hundred thousand pounds.
"I'm firmly hoping the Irish superstars can do the business on Friday otherwise it's going to be a miserable bank holiday weekend for my accountant.
"Epatante and Goshen have the chance to take the shirt from my back and €100k from my pocket."
Paddy Power are also offering Money-Back as a free bet on all losing bets on Friday's Champion Hurdle if a UK trained horse wins the race.
Paddy added: "Click the latest Money-Back Special on the way to winning the richest hurdle race in the country."
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