Morgiana Hurdle 2011  

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Thousand Stars Blitzes Morgiana Hurdle Rivals

1 Thousand Stars 5/4F
2 Oscars Well 2/1
3 Pittoni 9/4
4 ran Distances: 5½l, 2¼l, 86l
TIME 3m 59.80s (slow by 13.80s)

Thousand Stars made every yard of the running under Ruby Walsh to emerge a comfortable winner of the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

Thousand Stars

Thousand Stars

The Grade One prize was the intended target of Champion Hurdle-winning stablemate Hurricane Fly and although he was ruled out earlier in the week, the dashing grey proved an able substitute.

Sent off the well supported 5-4 favourite for his first start since winning the French Champion Hurdle in June, Willie Mullins' seven-year-old hurdled fluently out in front and soon asserted when Oscars Well loomed up menacingly at the top of the straight, securing victory by five and a half lengths.

William Hill cut Thousand Stars to 14-1 from 33-1 for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, while he is 7-1 from 10-1 should connections step him back up in distance for the World Hurdle.

Mullins said: "He will be well entered up in the Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle. He seems to run up to his mark every time he runs. He has picked up a lot of prize money along the way and is a great servant.

"He had the best form over two miles in this race and had a stone in hand on official figures. The Aintree Hurdle over two and a half miles, which he ran a cracker in last season, is a long-term realistic target.

"He will be left in the Hatton's Grace as late as possible, but he will probably go for the two-mile Grade One at Leopardstown at Christmas (December Festival Hurdle)."

Walsh added: "He has been in Hurricane Fly's shadow, but he is a good horse in his own right and is very versatile ground-wise."

Jessica Harrington said of Oscars Well: "He'll stay over two miles for the moment. He is only a second-season novice and improved all through last season and I'd have said he will do the same this year.

"He is the type of horse that could run into a place in the Champion Hurdle and he will be better with a quicker pace. The Aintree Hurdle is a long-term target for him."

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