The Morgiana Hurdle is the first Grade 1 to be run over hurdles in Ireland this season and it normally attracts the elite of the two-mile division. Some absolute heroes appear on the roll of honour, including Moscow Flyer (2000), Hardy Eustace(2008) and Hurricane Fly (2012-2014).
Samcro tops the market, with Gordon keen on aiming him down the Champion Hurdle route with one of his stable stars. There had been much talk over the summer as to where last season’s Ballymore winner would go but these questions were answered when Samcro lined up in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal where he suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Bedrock.
Samcro looked laboured when Jack Kennedy pressed the button at the back of the second last which would leave him with plenty to find if he wanted to be a genuine Champion Hurdle horse. Gordon said after the defeat that none of his horses have been away for work so he expects them all to improve for there first run.
That runner-up finish would be good enough to give him a big chance and if he finds the expected improvement then Samcro should be winning this.
Willie Mullins has won the last seven renewals of this and is well represented by Faugheen; who is a fan favourite amongst national hunt purists. The son of Germany took this twelve months ago and has been the subject of an ante-post gamble in recent days. Faugheen’s season fell apart in no uncertain fashion when he pulled up and finished runner-up in a brace of Grade 1’s.
Willie stepped him up in distance at the Punchestown festival and it worked the oracle, with him finishing 13 lengths clear of Stayers’ hurdle winner Penhill in a fascinating contest.
Many had expected Faugheen to stay over longer trips but he must be working well in Closutton to earn a crack at a hat-trick of victories in the race.
Supasundae was last seasons Champion Hurdle winner and was one of the most consistent horses in training, with placings in Garde 1’s in each of his starts. Jessica Harrington’s inmate doesn’t have a great record when fresh and will undoubtedly come on for the run.
I think a watching brief is the best advice when it comes to him.
The field is completed by Tombstone, Wicklow Brave and Sharjah.