Top-class Laurina joins Paul Nicholls string from Willie Mullins

Laurina wins at Cheltenham

Formerly top-class mare Laurina is on the move to Paul Nicholls, in a surprising shuffle of two Sullivan Bloodstock owned horses from Willie Mullins

Endless Potential

That’s how you would have described Laurina on her day, with the daughter of Spanish Moon looking like hurdling’s best prospect after joining Willie Mullins from Guillaume Macaire in November 2017. A massively impressive winner of the Mares’ Novice at the Cheltenham Festival of the subsequent year, she then bagged a second Grade 1 success when landing the Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final in effortless fashion.

She looked in prime position for a Champion Hurdle heading into the next season, winning Listed honours at Sandown before another race of brilliance at Punchestown in the same company. Sent off second-favourite for the 2019 Champion Hurdle, she could only manage 4th after finding very little off the bridle.

She would start a chasing career the next season, beating Minella Indo on chasing debut, reigniting the excitement surrounding her.

The rise and then the fall

Three subsequent starts would be the disappointing collapse of a career that, at one stage, was reaching star potential. She was pulled up behind Notebook at Leopardstown in Grade 1 company, before another short-odds failure at Sandown in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase, where her jumping fell to pieces.

Returned to hurdling at Punchestown the last time we saw her, she could only manage third in a modest Grade 3 behind the 142-rated Elfile.

Pastures new

There can be hope of a revival for Laurina, with new surroundings and techniques at Ditcheat having the potential to get her back to her glorious best. She wasn’t the only horse to be changing hands, with Next Destination and Saglawy being two others horses listed on Paul Nicholls “Horses in Training” page as of earlier in the week.

Saglawy is the other Sullivan Bloodstock to switch over from the other side of the Irish Sea, with her biggest win to date being a Grade 2 victory over hurdles back in 2018. Next Destination was the other horse to complete a move to Nicholls, with the eight-year-old absent since April 2018, where he defeated Delta Work in a Punchestown Grade 1.

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