Thursday 14 December 2017

Vedette seeking festival victory

Colm Murphy arrived in Cheltenham early on Monday morning to soak up the atmosphere as he prepares prolific winner Voler La Vedette for tomorrow's David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle.

Murphy has tasted Festival success twice before as Brave Inca landed the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in 2004 and the Champion Hurdle two years later.

Murphy elected to bypass the latter race with Voler La Vedette and the six-year-old will instead clash with Willie Mullins' Quevega in the concluding event on day one of the meeting.

Murphy's mare is unbeaten in four runs this season and claimed the scalp of Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle favourite Go Native last November.

Murphy said: "It is good to be back here but I have just arrived so haven't had a chance to look at the ground.

"I came over with the mare last night and we arrived in this morning.

"She took the journey well and has had a nice break since Christmas."

A field of 17 will go to post for the Grade Two event, which on paper appears to be a match between Voler La Vedette and last year's 14-length winner Quevega.

The six-year-old went on to finish third in the Champion Hurdle at Punchestown but has not raced since picking up an injury in France last May.

Mullins commented: "She came here with a good chance last year but hasn't had a prep run this time so there has to be a big question mark there."

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