Review Of Fairyhouse On Sunday: Exciting Mare Laurina Wins Her First Grade 1 At Fairyhouse On Sunday

The Willie Mullins-trained Laurina is one of the most exciting national hunt horses in Ireland and the five-year-old mare made it four from four since joining the Closutton team from France last November.
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One of the most impressive victories at the Cheltenham Festival was that of Laurina’s 18 length demolition job in the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle but the five-year-old ex-French mare still had to open her account in Grade 1 company for trainer Willie Mullins, a situation which was put right at Fairyhouse on Sunday afternoon when the daughter of Spanish Moon justified odds of 2-11 in beating Lackaneen Leader by a comfortable eight and a half lengths in the 2m 4f Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final.

A top price 14/1 with William Hill and Paddy Power for the 2019 Champion Hurdle the mount of Paul Townsend is likely to face stiffer opposition before next year’s festival but still possesses plenty of untapped potential, of which her rider said: “ She’s a joy to ride and so simple as well. I just keep it simple. She’s growing up every day and makes my life easy.”

The other Grade 1 contest on the card, the Ryanair Gold Cup, was expected to go to another mare in the Gordon Elliott-trained Shattered Love who was attempting to follow up her win in the JLT Novices’ Chase at Prestbury Park and in receipt of the 7lb sex allowance from her eight rivals was sent of a warm 13-8 favourite for the 2m 4f novice chase. Always handy under young pilot Jack Kennedy the seven-year-old got a nice lead off Up For Review and Danny Mullins until taking the lead approaching the second-last fence.

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With main market rival Invitation Only making a mistake at that fence the race looked over bar the shouting for the favourite but David Mullins and another Willie Mullins inmate in Al Boum Photo had other ideas and wore the mare down in the closing stages, making up for his fall in the RSA at Cheltenham which resulted in jockey Ruby Walsh suffering a spell on the sidelines.

The 11-2 winner paid a compliment to Presenting Percy who was an impressive winner of the ‘ Novices Gold Cup ‘ at Prestbury Park and who currently heads the betting for the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup at 6-1 with most bookmakers.

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