/ Racing

Stars shines in Morgiana Hurdle

Updated: Sunday, 20 Nov 2011 15:43

French Champion Hurdle winner Thousand Stars made all to take the Morgiana Hurdle
French Champion Hurdle winner Thousand Stars made all to take the Morgiana Hurdle

Thousand Stars made every yard of the running under Ruby Walsh to run out a comfortable winner of the Ladbrokes.com Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

The Grade One prize was the intended target of Champion Hurdle-winning stablemate Hurricane Fly and, although he was ruled out earlier in the week, the dashing grey Thousand Stars proved an able substitute.

Sent off the well supported 5-4 favourite for his first start since winning the French Champion Hurdle in June, Willie Mullins' seven-year-old was hurdling fluently out in front and had the strongly fancied Pittoni in trouble from before the turn for home.

Oscars Well loomed up menacingly at the top of the straight but when Walsh asked Thousand Stars to quicken, he soon asserted and he produced a fine leap at the final flight to secure a five-and-a-half length win.

Mullins said: "He will be well entered up in the Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle.

"He seems to run up to his mark every time he runs. He has picked up a lot of prize money along the way and is a great servant.

"He had the best form over two miles in this race and had a stone in hand on official figures. The Aintree Hurdle over two and a half miles, which he ran a cracker in last season, is a long-term realistic target.

"He will be left in the Hatton's Grace as late as possible but he will probably go for the two-mile Grade One at Leopardstown at Christmas (December Festival Hurdle)."

Walsh added: "He has been in Hurricane Fly's shadow but he is a good horse in his own right and is very versatile ground-wise."

Jessica Harrington said of Oscars Well: "He'll stay over two miles for the moment. He is only a second-season novice and improved all through last season and I'd have said he will do the same this year.

"He is the type of horse that could run into a place in the Champion Hurdle and he will be better with a quicker pace. The Aintree Hurdle is a long-term target for him."

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