Thousand Stars Blitzes Morgiana Hurdle Rivals
1 Thousand Stars 5/4F
Thousand Stars made every yard of the running under Ruby Walsh to emerge a comfortable winner of the ladbrokes.com Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.
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.
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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