Walsh favours Laurina for Champion Hurdle

Wednesday, Jan 9 2019

Ruby Walsh admits it will be tough to get off Laurina if she turns up in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Willie Mullins’ mare stretched her unbeaten run for the stable to five at Sandown on Saturday – when all she essentially proved was her well being, in a two-runner race.

With last year’s runner-up Melon and the fiercely progressive Sharjah in the Mullins yard, however, it is telling that Walsh seems intent on going with the unproven mare.

“Quevega got beaten in Auteuil as a novice in a race when Hurricane Fly was second, which is pretty good form. Annie Power was unbeaten as a novice too, so she was in a similar sort of position to Laurina. She has answered every question she’s been asked so far,” Walsh told Paddy Power News.

“She did what you’d be hoping she would do on Saturday at Sandown, and if anything she wouldn’t let me slow her down. All we can do is win the race in front of us, and it’s onwards and upwards from here with her.

“Whatever we have for the Champion Hurdle, she is the most unexposed. Sharjah has improved out of all recognition, and I’m sure Melon will run in the Irish Champion Hurdle.

“We have to see what gets there first, and then I can worry about that on the Sunday before Cheltenham. If all three horses got there, she would be a tough one to get off – and if she had to go straight to Cheltenham without another run, it wouldn’t bother me.”

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