Morgiana Hurdle runner-by-runner guide to Sunday’s 2.05 at Punchestown

Paddy's ultimate guide to the five runners.

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Abacadabras

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: B. J. Cooper Age: 7 Weight: 11st 12lbs

High-class hurdler. C&D winner. 14/1, respectable 13¾ lengths fourth of 8 to Honeysuckle in Punchestown Champion Hurdle at this course (16f, good to soft). Won this last season.

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Darasso

Trainer: Joseph Patrick O’Brien Jockey: M. P. Walsh Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Smart chaser. Career best when winning 5-runner Lismullen Hurdle at Navan (20f, good to soft, 4/1) 7 days ago by 6 lengths from Sire Du Berlais, forging clear. More needed again.

Sharjah

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Mr P. W. Mullins Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Won a third successive Matheson at Leopardstown in December. Best of the rest when second to Honeysuckle in Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and Puchestown. Won this in 2018 and set the standard.

Zanahiyr

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Davy Russell Age: 4 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Smart hurdler. 8/13, career best when winning 5-runner WKD Hurdle at Down Royal (16.9f, soft) 16 days ago by 8 lengths from Cask Mate, keeping on well. This tougher but must be respected.

Echoes In Rain

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: S. F. O’Keeffe Age: 5 Weight: 11st 5lbs

Smart hurdler. Didn’t need to be at best when winning 5-runner Champion Novices’ Hurdle at this course (16.4f, good to soft, 8/13) by 3¼ lengths. Off 6 months. Remains capable of better still.

Timeform Verdict: SHARJAH looked better than ever when runner-up in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and Punchestown in the spring and has no Honeysuckle to deal with this time. His stablemate Echoes In Rain rates a high-class prospect and is the obvious threat ahead of last year’s winner Abacadabras.

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