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Morgiana Hurdle - 16th November, 2014

Hurricane Fly will bid for a hat-trick of wins in the Morgiana Hurdle on November 16 as the Willie Mullins-trained star heads to Punchestown for what could be a fascinating renewal, as the Co. Carlow inmate aims to bag more Grade One success in Ireland.

He could well lock horns with reigning Champion Hurdle hero Jezki in a mouth-watering clash as Jessica Harrington's raider makes his seasonal reappearance as he embarks on a season that will see him return to the Cheltenham Festival in March to try and retain his 2m Championship crown.

Hurricane Fly failed to land a blow in the Champion Hurdle and now ten years old could have his best days behind him, but he has shown before that he excels around Punchestown and he will definitely be a major threat to Jezki in what is a cracking contest.

Little King Robin is entered for the race and outbattled Arctic Fire in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal, but Colin Bowe may let her have a break after a busy period of racing and she may not take her place in a field that should provide some early festival clues for March.

King Of The Picts was well beaten by the aforementioned Little King Robin in the WKD Hurdle and will find things tough not only to get close to Bowe's raider, but also the dominant duo in the betting, whilst Lethal Weapon and Princess Leya complete the sextet and will be completely outclassed.

Latest Betting for 2014 Morgiana Hurdle

8/11 Jezki

5/4 Hurricane Fly

12/1 Little King Robin

50/1 King Of The Picts

100/1 Lethal Weapon

100/1 Princess Leya

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Morgiana Hurdle History

The Morgiana Hurdle is a Grade One race run at Punchestown over two miles and is open to horses aged four years or older.

Having originally been contested over two-and-a-half miles, the Morgiana Hurdle was eventually reduced to its current distance in 1995 and was eventually handed top level status in 2006 and is now often used as a trial for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

It has often attracted some star names and the roll of honour has some top class equine talent running through it including Grabel won the event twice in the late 1980's for trainer Paddy Mullins.

James Bowe's Limestone Lad is a name synonymous with the race as during his stellar career he bagged three Morgiana Hurdle titles in 1999, 2001 and 2002.  However, the 2000 winner, in particular was a classy one as Jessica Harrington's Moscow Flyer won the Millennium race by three-and-a-half lengths.

However, it would be the larger obstacles that he would excel at and Msocow Flyer went on to win the Arkle Trophy in 2002 before notching up a brace of wins in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2003 and 2005 to become one of the greatest steeplechasers Ireland has produced in recent memory.

Moscow Flyer may have used the Morgiana Hurdle as a springboard to success over fences, but many have stayed over hurdles and carved a brilliant career over flights.

Brave Inca had already won the 2004 Supreme Novices' Hurdle before heading to Punchestown to lift the Morgiana title a year later.  Colm Murphy's star then went on to lift the coveted Champion Hurdle title in 2006, whilst also bagging the Irish Champion Hurdle crown the same year.

Hardy Eustace had already won two Champion Hurdle titles before bagging the 2008 Morgiana Hurdle, whilst Charles Byrnes' classy Solwhit bagged dual success in 2009 and 2010 to add excellent depth to an illustrious winners' board.

Recent Winners of Morgiana Hurdle

  • 2000 - Moscow Flyer
  • 2001 - Limestone Lad
  • 2002 - Limestone Lad
  • 2003 - Back In Front
  • 2004 - Harchibald
  • 2005 - Brave Inca
  • 2006 - Iktitaf
  • 2007 - Jazz Messenger
  • 2008 - Hardy Eustace
  • 2009 - Solwhit
  • 2010 - Solwhit
  • 2011 - Thousand Stars
  • 2012 - Hurricane Fly
  • 2013 - Hurricane Fly