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Dublin: 12°C Monday 23 November 2020

Voler's Champion Hurdle chances hinge on the rain

Colm Murphy is likely to pull Voler la Vedette from Sunday’s BHP Irish Champion Hurdle unless the ground softens considerably.

Voler La Vedette ridden by jockey Andrew Lynch jumps the last to win the Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle last month.
Voler La Vedette ridden by jockey Andrew Lynch jumps the last to win the Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle last month.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire/Press Association Images

VOLER LA VEDETTE will become the latest high-profile withdrawal from Sunday’s BHP Champion Hurdle unless the going at Leopardstown softens considerably over the next 48 hours.

Colm Murphy’s mare is one of ten runners currently declared for Sunday’s feature, which will see the seasonal reappearance of Willie Mullins’s Hurricane Fly to defend his title.

But with the ground at Leopardstown drying out, Murphy has also left the eight-year-old in the declarations for Thursday’s Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle over three miles at Gowran Park.

Voler la Vedette is unbeaten in three starts this season, but all of those wins have come over distances of at least 2m4f. Connections feel that she would be at a major disadvantage in a two-mile sprint on good ground, and now look likely to opt for Kilkenny, where the advance going on the hurdle track is yielding to soft at present.

The decision on where to run will come down to the weather, Murphy told

“We have the choice of running at Gowran Park on Thursday or at Leopardstown on Sunday and our decision will be based on the ground.

“Looking at the current conditions at each track, the race at Gowran Park is very much a strong possibility.”

At 8/13, Hurricane Fly is odds-on favourite to get his season off to a winning start by retaining his Irish Champion Hurdle title. Dermot Weld’s Unaccompanied (3/1) and Nicky Henderson’s Binocular (5/1) are the other early challengers in the betting.

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Niall Kelly

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