Morgiana Hurdle Date is Sunday, 15 November 2021 (13:55)
Type: Grade 1 National Hunt Hurdle Race
Age Of The Horses: For Four Year Olds And Up
Distance: 2 Miles & 110 Yards
Winner 2019: Saldier
2020 Morgiana Hurdle Results
What happened in 2020?
Abacadabras allowed Gordon Elliott to finally end his long-time rival Willie Mullins’ stranglehold on the Morgiana Hurdle with an albeit unconvincing win in a messy renewal of the race. Popular veteran Supasundae made the early running, along with Jason The Militant who came in for plenty of support from a big price in the days leading up to the race. However, all this did was set the contest up for the big two in the betting. County Hurdle hero Saint Roi was easy to back at the off with the 10/11 favourite switched to the inside after a mistake at the last when it looked as though jockey Mark Walsh could have got a clearer run down the outer.
Despite staying on to the line, Mullins was denied 10 consecutive wins in the Morgiana Hurdle by Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud’s 13/8 second-favourite Abacadabras, who was all out to hold on by a neck. As at the Cheltenham Festival when on the reverse end of a narrow finish, and on his reappearance when turned over at Down Royal, he didn’t find much at the business end. Jack Kennedy had taken things up at the last on Abacadabras, but just half-a-length split him and the rallying 10/1 chance Jason The Militant in third. There was then six lengths back to Coeur Sublime on his reappearance with Supasundae dropping away tamely before the final flight.
What To Do Next?
The Morgiana Hurdle, now a Grade 1 event, is a two-mile hurdle race run each year at Punchestown. The race is often used as an early prep for both the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals. The 2020 renewal will be on Saturday 14th November, the same day as another important two-mile trial, the Greatwood over at Cheltenham.
The Morgiana is the first Grade 1 race of the season in Ireland, an event that was first run over 2½ miles but one that at its shorter distance has produced a number of high-profile Champion Hurdle contenders which makes it a very important one not just for connections of the runners, but also for bettors too.
Since the year 2000 alone, the Morgiana has produced three Cheltenham Festival winners in the shape of Brave Inca and Hurricane Fly, both in the Champion Hurdle, and Nichols Canyon in the Stayers’.
2020 Morgiana Hurdle Runners & Favourites
Just six horses hold entries now the 2020 Morgiana Hurdle after the penultimate declaration stage. That means half of the initial declarations have forfeited their interest in favour of other targets. Here are those left in the Morgiana Hurdle:
- Abacadabras (Gordon Elliott, IRE)
- Coeur Sublime (Gearoid O’Loughlin, IRE)
- Jason The Militant (Henry De Bromhead, IRE)
- Saint Roi (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Saldier (Willie Mullins, IRE)
- Supasundae (Jessica Harrington, IRE)
Morgiana Hurdle 2020 Tips
Ante post betting is available on the 2020 Morgiana Hurdle with race sponsors Unibet the first among online bookmakers to put prices up for their race. According to the market, these are the fancied runners at Punchestown.
Saint Roi (Evens)
Given trainer Willie Mullins’s superb recent record and that three of his last five Morgiana Hurdle winners have been five-year-olds, Saint Roi is obvious interest. Leading Irish owner JP McManus has had four seconds and three thirds in this race in the last 20 years, but this talented young horse of has strong claims of success. A typical French import to the Mullins stable from Guy Cherel, Saint Roi has won all three of his starts in 2020.
After breaking his maiden tag emphatically at Tramore on New Year’s Day, Mullins and McManus sent Saint Roi handicapping at the Cheltenham Festival in the County Hurdle. He justified favouritism there with a 4½ lengths victory over Aramon, who has advertised the form and then some since.
Saint Roi made a winning reappearance under a penalty in Grade 3 company at Tipperary. That was the expectation when sent off odds-on and he did so by 5½ easy lengths. The Morgiana Hurdle demands more, but he has loads of scope for further progress and is fancied again. Saint Roi looks well worth a crack at the highest level and can enhance his Champion Hurdle credentials.
County Meath trainer Gordon Elliott hasn’t tasted victory in the Morgiana Hurdle, but Abacadabras remains prominent in this year’s betting despite a disappointing reappearance. This six-year-old by German sire Davidoff was unlucky to bump into two top performers as a novice last season in Envoi Allen in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and then be denied by the gutsy Shishkin in the Supreme at the Cheltenham Festival. Abacadabras went down fighting by a head in the latter.
His easy success at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival in Grade 1 company in between those efforts suggests there are still plenty of races he can win over hurdles in open company. The Gigginstown House Stud owned gelding brings strong novice form to the table and, after just five starts over the obstacles, has room for further progress. If leaving his disappointing return at Down Royal when beaten by Aspire Tower behind him, then Abacadabras could pose the biggest danger to Saint Roi.
Saldier, the Morgiana Hurdle hero of 2019, hasn’t been seen on a racecourse since prevailing here 12 months ago. Also trained by Mullins but for Rich and Susannah Ricci, this six-year-old remains lightly-raced out of necessity rather than by design. The son of Soldier Hollow, brought into Closutton from France, has only ran twice since his Champion Four Year Old Hurdle triumph at the 2018 Punchestown Festival.
It took time for Saldier to get over his fall when eye-balling subsequent 2019 Champion Hurdle hero Espoir D’Allen in a Naas Grade 3 but he came back from that to win the Morgiana Hurdle last year. He has the highest official rating (159) of those remaining in the race. Saldier is obviously a talented but fragile horse so, if Mullins can get him sound for a defence of his title, odds of 5/1 look generous provided that he turns up.
Jason The Militant (20/1)
Grade 2 novice hurdle scorer Jason The Militant only has a short-head to find with Abacadabras on their WKD Hurdle meeting, yet is several times the price if they meet again at Punchestown. A softer surface helps this inmate of the Henry De Bromhead stable be seen to best effect. Beacon Edge and others have also advertised the form of his Naas success back in February.
Of all those contesting the Morgiana Hurdle this year, Jason The Militant should be the fittest after a winning spin on the Flat around Fairyhouse and then going back over hurdles at Down Royal. Paul Townend probably won’t take the ride again, but this six-year-old has less to find than official ratings suggest, especially if judged on his last outing. After just five starts, Jason The Militant can also make further progress in this sphere and could go well at a big price here.
Morgiana Hurdle 2019 Results
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Morgiana Hurdle Stats & Trends
10 of the last 19 winners have gone off as favourite, often at a very short price, meaning the Morgiana hasn’t exactly been a race to make the punters rich even when using Boylesports Cheltenham offers or the likes. Favourites have gone off at a maximum of 5/4f, but also as short as 1/16.
What can statistics about the Morgiana Hurdle reveal to bettors about where value bets lie? Trends aren’t the be all and end all with big horse races like this, but it is better to know them than not. Here are some key stats that you should know:
- Most successful horses – Hurricane Fly and Limestone Lad have both won the race a joint record three times. Four other horses have landed the spoils twice: Nicholls Canyon, Solwhit, Cockney Lad and Grabel.
- Leading trainer – Willie Mullins has absolutely dominated the Morgiana Hurdle, winning it in every year since 2011 and ten times overall. Anything sent out from his Closutton stables in this race should be taken very seriously, although he does often run more than once horse.
- Leading jockey – Paul Carberry holds the outright record for most wins with six, ahead of Ruby Walsh on five. The active jockeys who have won this more than once are Paul Townend with two victories in the last three years and Davy Russell who last rode the winner in 2010.
- Leading owners – Rich and Susannah Ricci have teamed up with Mullins in each of the last three years to have the Morgiana winner. Those recent successes match George Creighton and Rose Boyd who owned Hurricane Fly, and Limestone Lad owner James Bowe.
- Favourites – Ten winners since 2000 have been market leaders. That means the favourite in the Morgiana Hurdle has a 50 per cent strike rate this century. Bookmakers tend to make the leading fancy a short price in this race to with odds ranging from 5/4 down to 1/16.
- Age – Despite six multiple winners of the Morgiana down the years, an age profile is starting to emerge from recent years. Three of the last five winners, all trained by Mullins, have been five-year-olds. Unless there is a previous victor in the line-up, it pays to concentrate on younger hurdlers aged five, six and seven as these account for 69 per cent (22 out of 32) of winners.
- Lastly, although three of these winners have gone on to be stayers, 11 of them went on to race in the Champion Hurdle so look out for any horses being targeted at that race the following March.
Past Morgiana Hurdle Winners
This is how Morgiana winners have done at Cheltenham since the year 2000, though in some cases the race has been used as a prep for the Punchestown Festival instead:
What happened in 2019?
Saldier made a winning return to action after more than a year out and extended trainer Willie Mullins’s record in the Morgiana Hurdle to 10 victories. Not seen since falling at the last when tackling ill-fated subsequent Champion Hurdle hero Espoir D’Allen in a Grade 3 at Naas, the Rich and Susannah Ricci owned five-year-old was only supposedly third best of the stable, according to bookmakers who returned him at odds of 7/1. However, Saldier retained plenty of scope for further progress and made plenty of that here.
After chasing the leaders and disputing third spot in the hands of Danny Mullins, he wasn’t fluent four and three flights from home but soon came under a drive. Saldier improved on the outside with a clear sight of the obstacles and led with a much better jump at the last. He only needed riding clear on the run-in as odds-on stable companion Klassical Dream faded to be third for a 1½ lengths victory over 16/1 shot Petit Mouchoir. The third Mullins runner, Sharjah, was back in fourth at 7/2.
What Happened in 2018?
The 2018 running of the Morgiana Hurdle was once again dominated by champion Irish jumps trainer Willie Mullins, the master handler declaring three of the 4 runners in the field.
Previous winner Faugheen was sent off 2/5 favourite with top jockey Ruby Walsh on board, but he was put in his place by the stable second-string Sharjah under Paul Townend. The pair travelled into the race nicely and hit the front full of running at the final flight, stretching away to score easily in the end by 7½ lengths.
Faugheen could only plod on for second place with Gordon Elliott’s Tombstone in third and Mullins’ third runner, Wicklow Brave, back in fourth.