Unibet Morgiana Hurdle: runner-by-runner guide and tip

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The good news for those hoping to shake Willie Mullins’ dominance over the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle is that he has withstood the run of the six runners he left in the running earlier this week.

But the bad news is that he still has three live contenders as he seeks to win the freshman feature for the twelfth time since 2011.

Here’s a guide to the five runners on what’s a fascinating map. Catch all the action on Racing TV and remember, if you’re not a member, Sunday is the last chance to take advantage of a one month free trial.

1 JESSE EVANS

Coach: Noel Meade. Official ranking: 147. Odds: 33-1

Nice guy but he was overpowered on the flat last time, so maybe he didn’t handle the heavy ground, and he has some packages to find on the odds. The best chance of creating an upset would be if they don’t gallop off and it turns into a sprint, but that seems unlikely.


2 SALDIERS

Coach: Willie Mullins. Official ranking: 161. Odds: 16-1

Won this award three years ago under Danny Mullins, having also won a freshman award here as a four-year-old in 2018. Showed his fire didn’t go out when landing d a Galway Hurdle (on a mark of 155) last year but his last three efforts of last season were all lackluster and he starts this campaign with something to prove. Managed to run and it will come as no surprise that Mullins chooses to dictate the pace.


3 Sharjah

Coach: Willie Mullins. Official ranking: 162. Odds: 2-1

“The silence is deafening,” commentator Jerry Hannon said as Sharjah beat Faugheen in this race’s 2018 run. He’s since added five more freshman wins to his resume, including this race last year, and he chased Honeysuckle in last year’s Champion Hurdle. Out since winning the Matheson Hurdle for the fourth consecutive season 11 months ago, but thrilled his rider at a school hurdle at Thurles last week and is off to a good start. The problem is to know if, by going up 10, he keeps all his powers.


4 STATESMAN

Coach: Willie Mullins. Official ranking: 159. Odds: 5-6 favorites

The new kid on the block among his coach’s trio, rated between 7-1 and 10-1 for the Champion Hurdle. He had just his third start for the yard when he won the County Hurdle, by a mark of 141, at Cheltenham in March, before making the jump to Grade One company in his stride at Punchestown (2m 3f) . It’s asking more of him – his two stable mates are officially superior – but he’s exciting and there could be plenty more in his locker.


5 TEAHUPOO

Coach: Gordon Elliot. Official ranking: 158. Odds: 10-1

Won six of his first seven races, despite staying away from the top, but trailed home last in the Champion Hurdle and then made no impact at the Festival here the following month. It will come as no surprise if he resumes his progression this season, having had the chance to recharge, but it may not be a coincidence that most of his wins have come on heavy ground. Did the race and wouldn’t want it to turn into a dash.


VERDICT:

STATE MAN’s potential is hard to resist, and he can rob Sharjah of a third victory in this race.

1 STATESMAN. 2 SHARJAH. 3 SALT DISH. 4 TEAHUPOO. 5 JESSE EVANS.

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