State Man is set to meet just three rivals at Punchestown in defence of his Morgiana Hurdle crown on Saturday.
It looks like a penalty kick for Willie Mullins’ star hurdler after bagging four Grade 1s in open company last season, with his only defeat coming at the hooves of Constitution Hill at the Cheltenham Festival.
Stablemate Echoes In Rain reverts back to hurdling after racing on the level without success in recent months and is in receipt of the 7lb mares allowance.
County Hurdle and Cesarewitch second Pied Piper also takes his chance but has 19l to find with State Man from their most recent meeting in the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle in April.
Dual Grade 3 winner Fils D’oudairies completes the field for Saturday’s 14:35.
The latest Morgiana Hurdle odds are on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise Timeform’s guide to the runners as well as betting tips from the racing boffins can be found below.
Morgiana Hurdle verdict
Timeform: STATE MAN was comfortably the best 2m hurdler in Ireland last season and can provide Willie Mullins with a remarkable twelfth win in this since 2011. Stable-companion Echoes In Rain can follow him home.
*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
Morgiana Hurdle runners and riders
The following horses have been declared for the Morgiana Hurdle 2023.
Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: Sam Ewing Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Smart hurdler. 3 wins from 5 runs this season. 9/2, didn’t need to be at best when winning 3-runner Horse & Jockey Hotel Hurdle at Tipperary (16.2f, soft) 55 days ago by 99 lengths from Deo Bellator.
Trainer: Gordon Elliott Jockey: J. W. Kennedy Age: 5 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Very smart hurdler. Course winner. Creditable second of 31 in Cesarewitch on Flat at Newmarket (18f, good to soft) 42 days ago. Should give his running back hurdling but a big career best will be needed to trouble State Man.
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: P. Townend Age: 6 Weight: 11st 12lbs
Couldn’t live with Constitution Hill in last season’s Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham but that’s his only defeat in his last 8 starts, including this race last year. Will take all the beating.
Echoes In Rain
Trainer: W. P. Mullins Jockey: D. E. Mullins Age: 7 Weight: 11st 5lbs
Smart hurdler, including a Grade 1 win at Punchstown in April. Arrives fit from Flat (6½ lengths second to Falcon Eight in 2m Curragh Group 3 20 days ago). Might be the one to follow her stablemate home.
Saturday’s Racing Tips
- Matt Chapman’s horse racing tips for Saturday’s ITV action
- Rory Delargy’s horse racing tips on Saturday
- Mick Fitzgerald’s ITV Racing tips for Saturday
- Frank Hickey’s Saturday ITV Racing tips for Ascot and Haydock
- Timeform’s betting tips for Punchestown on Saturday
- Jason Weaver’s horse racing tips for Lingfield and Wolverhampton
- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest horse racing tips
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