Matheson Hurdle runner-by-runner guide and best bet as Sharjah faces 5 rivals

Can Sharjah make it four in a row in Leopardstown's Christmas Grade 1?

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Felix Desjy

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: B. J. Cooper Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Smart but temperamental sort. 9/2, 14¼ lengths third of 6 to Captain Guinness in Poplar Square Chase at Naas (16f, good to soft) 53 days ago, going in snatches. Switches from chase to hurdles.

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Petit Mouchoir

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Davy Russell Age: 10 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Very smart hurdler who won this back in 2016. Ran a cracker under a big weight in County at Cheltenham in March but running below form when falling 2 out at Cork in April. Been off since.

Saint Roi

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Rachael Blackmore Age: 6 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Smart hurdler. 21 lengths fourth of 6 to Honeysuckle in Irish Champion Hurdle over C&D (soft) when last seen in February, unable to sustain effort. Off 10 months. Yard having good spell.

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Sharjah

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

Completed hat-trick of wins in this race last Christmas. Ran a couple of excellent races behind Honeysuckle in the spring and reappeared with a 3-length defeat of Zanahiyr at Punchestown last month.

Zanahiyr

Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: J. W. Kennedy Age: 4 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Smart hurdler. C&D winner. Made all on Down Royal reappearance in October. Good 3 lengths second of 3 to Sharjah in Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown (16.2f, good to soft) 45 days ago.

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Echoes In Rain

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: P. Townend Age: 5 Weight: 11st 5lbs

Big improver last spring, including a Punchestown Grade 1 success. Better than she showed when 15 lengths last of 3 to Sharjah in Morgiana on reappearance, racing too keenly.

Racing Post Verdict: The logical choice here would be Sharjah who has won this event for the last three years and beat two of these rivals emphatically on his reappearance in the Morgiana Hurdle. However, that race was not run to suit his stablemate ECHOES IN RAIN who was highly progressive last season and could be a very different proposition now if settling effectively.

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