Morgiana Hurdle Betting Tips: Take Melon For Mullins Repeat
Champion trainer Willie Mullins has won the Morgiana Hurdle every year since 2011, and looks poised to do so again, should 2017 victor Faugheen turn up at Punchestown on Sunday.
The Morgiana Hurdle betting places Ballymore Novices' Hurdle champion Samcro at no bigger than 5/6 favourite with 888 Sport, but the ground may go against him, leaving Faugheen at odds of 2/1 and stablemate Melon next in the betting on 3/1 across the boards.
What is the Morgiana Hurdle
The Morgiana Hurdle is the first Grade 1 hurdle of the jumps season, always featuring Champion Hurdle contenders. It is run at Punchestown over 2m, with a prize fund of €100,000 and illustrious roll of honour from its 30-year history, including Limestone Lad, Hurricane Fly, and Solwhit.
Popular grey Thousand Stars started Willie Mullins's Morgiana Hurdle domination in 2011, and Faugheen (2/1 888 Sport) kept up the trend last year, bouncing back from injury to win what wasn't the strongest four-runner renewal.
He has since stepped up in trip to win the Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival and Sunday will be his first run since that emphatic April victory. Faugheen lines up technically in better form than odds-on favourite Samcro (5/6 888 Sport).
Samcro’s shock defeat by Bedrock in a Grade 2 hurdle 2m trip at the start of the month sticks hard in the memory, and dry conditions make him an unlikely starter in the Grade 1.
Of the Morgiana Hurdle betting favourites the best bet looks to be Faugheen's stablemate Melon (3/1 Paddy Power). The six-year-old had a productive novice hurdle campaign two seasons back, and last season was beaten only a neck in the Champion Hurdle on heavy going at Cheltenham in March.
Although he only won once last term, crucially it came on his first outing in a 2m Grade 2 at Down Royal (the same race Samcro just got beaten in). His starting price of 2/5 that day was indicative of the task, but he won in impressive fashion and also won his maiden hurdle after lengthy absence, so he appears suited to racing fresh.
Best Each-Way Bet
The consistent Supasundae (8/1 888 Sport) failed to finish outside of the first three in six starts last term, all those runs coming at the highest level. Versatile with regards to distance, Supasundae managed two Grade 1 victories over 2m, including on soft going at Punchestown in April - a race in which Samcro and Melon fell when still holding claims, while Wicklow Brave was runner-up.
Trainer Jessica Harrington has ducked no challengers with her eight-year-old son of Galileo and, while he finished runner-up in the longer Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, he is equally as effective over 2m and boasts a good record at Punchestown, having won twice.
The undulating track is likely to play to his key strength, stamina, and he looks capable of putting in a bold show on his return to action, with no concerns about potentially fast ground.
With doubts surrounding the two horses at the head of the market Supasundae looks a solid each-way bet at 8/1 with 888 Sport.
WATCH: Find out all the plans for Willie Mullins' stable stars in our 2018 Stable Tour
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