Matheson Hurdle tips and runner-by-runner guide to Thursday 2.20 at Leopardstown

The final Grade 1 of Leopardstown's Christmas Festival.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Sharjah faces four rivals as he bids to become the most successful horse in the history of the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle.

Willie Mullins’ reliable jumper is hunting a fifth successive victory in the race but a pair of emerging stablemates – County Hurdle hero State Man and Triumph Hurdle winner Vauban – are threatening a changing of the guard.

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Gordon Elliott is represented by WKD Hurdle scorer Pied Piper and the five-runner field for Thursday’s 14:20 is completed by outsider She Is Electric.

Matheson Hurdle odds can be found on the Paddy Power website, Paddy Power app or via our snazzy betting widgets, otherwise Timeform’s horse-by-horse guide to the runners and betting tips from the racing boffins are below.

Matheson Hurdle runners

Pied Piper

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

Useful hurdler. 1/8, didn’t need to be at best when winning 4-runner WKD Hurdle at Down Royal (16.9f, soft) 55 days ago by 3¼ lengths from David Garrick, easily. Remains open to improvement and hard to dismiss back up in grade.

**

Sharjah

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: Mr P. W. Mullins Age: 9 Weight: 11st 12lbs

High-class hurdler. 4 lengths second of 4 to State Man in Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown (16.4f, good to soft, 5/2) 39 days ago. Bidding for a remarkable fifth straight win in this.

***

State Man

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: P. Townend Age: 5 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Promising type. Career best when winning 4-runner Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown (16.4f, good to soft, 4/9) 39 days ago by 4 lengths from Sharjah, travelling strongly. Chance is there for all to see.

*****

Vauban

Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: D. E. Mullins Age: 4 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Highly promising individual. 4/11, career best when winning 6-runner Champion Juvenile Hurdle at Punchestown (16f, soft) by 4 lengths from Fil Dor when last seen, cruising clear. Off 8 months. Big player.

****

She Is Electric

Trainer: Norman Lee Jockey: R. P. Geoghegan Age: 7 Weight: 11st 5lbs

Fairly useful hurdler. 2 wins from 5 runs this season. 13/2, bit below form 11 lengths fourth of 8 to Fennor Cross in Sharp Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham (16.4f, good to soft) 46 days ago.

*

Matheson Hurdle tips

Timeform: Willie Mullins holds a strong hand and the classy STATE MAN is fancied to continue his progress and hold off his younger stablemate Vauban. The third of his representatives, Sharjah, was comfortably held by the selection last time but is likely to be closer to his best now as he seeks a fifth straight win in this Grade 1.

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