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The 2019 Champion Hurdle picture became a little clearer over the weekend as Laurina returned looking to have retained all her ability. Punters have already began to heavily support her for Cheltenham and also are punting the 2019 Grand National Ante Post betting market. Since her move to Willie Mullins she has not put a foot wrong and must have a strong chance in landing the Champion Hurdle. She is a general 4/1 chance behind market leader Buveur D'Air who himself now has questions to answer following his defeat to stablemate Verdana Blue at odds of 1/4. There is little doubt he failed to run to form and will be entering the race as a two-time defending champion, so is certainly still the one beat for the showpiece event on day one.
She has now won her five races for the Willie Mullins team by an aggregate winning distance of 100 1/2 lengths, showing she is a different class to her current opposition. This meant she has achieved an RPR high of 160, despite not yet racing out of mares company. She kicked off this winning run with a 15-length success in a Mares maiden hurdle at odds of 1/4. This showed she already had a big reputation prior to making her first start in Ireland.
Laurina then followed this up with an 11-length success beating a classy field that included Alletrix in second. This would be her highest SP to date landing odds of 13/8 in the process. Laurina was then sent to contest the Mares Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and was backed off the boards as Mullins named her his banker of the meeting. She duly obliged in very impressive fashion, clearing away on the bridle to win by 18 lengths. There is little doubt she was the most impressive winner of the meeting and went down as one to follow for everyone moving forward. Laurina then followed up at Punchestown to round up a very impressive campaign.
Following a 279 day break, she returned recently to contest a Mares hurdle at Sandown. It turned into a non-competitive event with just two runners but never the less she was very impressive. She tanked round in second gear and was eased down heavily to win by 48 lengths, from a horse who has won its previous two starts. It is very difficult to tell how good Laurina is, but connections feel she is ready to contest the Champion hurdle, so she is a very exciting horse for the race. Can she end the winning run of Buveur D'Air in the race?
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