Laurina Solidifies Cheltenham Hopes After Emphatic Victory

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Super mare Laurina put her hat in the ring once more for the Champion and also the Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after an emphatic six length victory in her final Preparation run before Cheltenham.

Her eased down win in the Listed Quevega Hurdle at Punchestown on Wednesday has set her up perfectly now for the festival in which she has two entries but the big one which everyone wants to see her in is the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle.

Laurina is now two from two for the season and has maintained her superb unbeaten record of winning six out of six over hurdles.

The six year old mare saw her price for the Champion hurdle slashed from 9/2 in places to a best price of 7/2 and for the OLBG Mares Hurdle from 4/1 to 5/4.

Her stablemate Stormy Ireland set off in front and stayed there for the majority of the race almost acting as a pace setter for Laurina, who just cruised along in second.

She jumped effortlessly all the way round brushing through the top of a couple but nothing to make her uneasy or unsettled.

When coming to the top of the bend with two left to jump she started to assert her dominance on the field bypassing her stablemate and going for home.

Whilst the rest of the jockeys in the field were searching for there whips, Ruby Walsh just let her reigns out slightly and she went on to open up a clear gap from the other runners.

She got over the last easily with Walsh glancing behind him to see how far the others were away from her and eased her down to a simply brilliant six length victory.

Mullins was a bit apprehensive in the run up to the race saying:

She will now be full steam ahead for the Cheltenham festival and hopefully entered into the Champion Hurdle which will set up one of the greatest races over the four days but arguably of the year with the three best hurdlers in the sport (Buveur D'Air, Apple's Jade and Laurina) set to take each other on for a Grade 1 title.

Mullins managed to finish the Listed contest with a nice 1-2 as Stormy Ireland for the same owners as Laurina managed to finish ahead of the rest in second.

He is set to go to the festival as well with his odds for the Mares Hurdle on the Tuesday slashed from 11/1 to 8/1.

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