Supasundae all set for Champion Hurdle

National runner-up Magic Of Light heading straight to Aintree.

  • Tuesday 18 February
  • News
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Jessica Harrington is confident Supasundae can make his presence felt in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The 10-year-old has run in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the showpiece meeting in each of the past two seasons, but Harrington is keen to stick to two miles with her charge on his return to the Cotswolds.

The three-times Grade One winner was far from disgraced in finishing fourth when bidding for a second win in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown earlier this month – and Harrington is expecting a bold show in the feature event on the opening day of the Festival.

“He’s in great form and I was absolutely thrilled with the way he ran in Leopardstown. He got off to a very slow start this year and he’ll come on a ton for that,” said the Moone-based trainer on Tuesday.

“He did a bit of work this morning and I was delighted with him. I think the trainer might have finally got it right this year – two miles in Cheltenham might suit him as he just doesn’t get up the hill over three miles.

“I didn’t even give myself the bad option of the Stayers’ Hurdle this year – I only put him in the Champion Hurdle.”

Every year Harrington spends Festival week with her good friend Nicky Henderson, who earlier this week declared his intentions to launch a five-pronged assault on the Champion Hurdle.

She added: “I should maybe kick about three of them in the shins when I’m there!

“It’s an incredibly open race, I think. We thought last year Buveur D’Air was a penalty kick, which is why I avoided him and went three miles – it was the wrong decision.

“I think Supasundae will run really well. He won’t mind it if the ground is soft and I think he’s got a great chance.

“I might try him in cheekpieces or even blinkers at Cheltenham. He’ll run there and then go on to Aintree and Punchestown.”

Supasundae is set to spearhead a small but select Harrington team at Cheltenham.

The Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup-winning trainer plans to run Neverushacon in the Glenfarclas Chase following his triumph over the banks at Punchestown, while Silver Sheen has sound claims in the Pertemps Final.

Of the latter, Harrington said: “He is qualified for the Pertemps Final. I’ve taken a chance by not running him since he won in Warwick and I just hope his mark of 136 will get him in.

“If he doesn’t get in, he’ll go for the Albert Bartlett.”

Last season’s Grand National runner-up Magic Of Light will not run again before a second tilt at the Aintree spectacular in April, with Harrington deciding against an outing at Cheltenham in the Mares’ Hurdle.

She added: “Magic Of Light won’t go. The Mares’ Hurdle looks too hot this year – it looks like all the good mares are going to turn up.

“We’ll go straight to Aintree with her. She’s absolutely fine after her run in the Boyne Hurdle in Navan on Sunday – the ground was just too heavy for her.”

Supasundae all set for Champion Hurdle

Cheltenham 15:30, 10 March 2020

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