NOT so fast in relative terms, but similarly impressive compared to what might be expected of the winners of the respective races, was the success of Laurina in the Grade 2 Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
The great British hope Maria’s Benefit ended up running herself out up front, not helped by the constant attentions of Laurina’s stablemate Cut The Mustard, and Champayne Lady managed to claim third at 80/1 despite having looked nothing out of the ordinary previously. But it would be folly to underestimate what Laurina did here.
It is not difficult to see Laurina making into a serious Champion Hurdle contender
I have her timefigure at 154, which is the equal of Summerville Boy in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the opening day, and she would get a sex allowance were she to meet the boys. What’s more, she did it extraordinarily easily, at least until the run-in, with the way she took off on the long run to the last particularly impressive.
The impression was that we might have been witnessing a major coming force in jumps racing, rather than the sort of mare who should remain pot-hunting against her own kind, and the time backs that up to a large extent.
It is not difficult to see Laurina making into a serious Champion Hurdle contender next season, and it is to be hoped that connections give her a crack against the best novice hurdlers before then.
Laurina and Paul Townend jump the last to win the Mares' Novice hurdle at Cheltenham
THE fact that there were three races at two and a half miles over hurdles on the opening day at Fairyhouse (when conditions were heavy but not noticeably getting worse) makes for ready comparisons and confident conclusions.
Those must include that neither Laurina (Grade 1 Mares Novice Hurdle Championship) nor Pallasator (Grade 2 Underwriting Exchange Novice Hurdle) had to run especially fast to win their respective races, for they were both slower overall than was Nobody Home in winning an ordinary novice handicap.
More than that, the sectionals from four out and three out were very similar for all three races, though Laurina was several lengths quicker than the other two from two out and the last.
Laurina gets a timefigure of just 116 (compared to her excellent Cheltenham figure of 154), Pallasator one of 125 (compared to 130 when winning at Leopardstown) and Nobody Home (who carried less weight than the other two) one of 121.
Sectionals imply that Laurina could have run a figure in the 140s, with ease, in a truer-run race, but we knew that already. The desire to mop up these easy Grade 1s against her own sex is understandable, but those of us who believe she is good enough to tackle the best hope it does not continue indefinitely!