Matt Chapman is dreaming of a Champion Hurdle win for Laurina and hasn't given up on Samcro in his latest column

Matt Chapman is dreaming of a Champion Hurdle win for Laurina and hasn't given up on Samcro in his latest column

January 12, 2019

The horse on my mind is Laurina, who pootled around Sandown last Saturday in what to many was a two-runner waste of time that won her more than £12,500.

However, I’m not sure it was as pointless as many were inclined to think.

Seeing Laurina in the flesh was mind-blowing.

She’s a beast — indeed I was left feeling I had seen her once before, perhaps when watching Russian shot-putters from the late 80s!

Size does not count for everything, but it can often prove to be a significant advantage on the racecourse.

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Laurina has the scope to develop even further, but already she’s looking like a huge 4-1 danger to Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle on March 12.

But I am wondering whether Laurina could be more than just a Champion Hurdle hero.

After all, Willie Mullins’ dad, Paddy, was the man who sent the legend Dawn Run to land both a Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Could Laurina be the type of horse capable of doing that as well? I think she might.

A six-year-old mare, Laurina has raced only seven times and has won five of those outings.

Interestingly, her only defeats came when in France.

After being sent to Mullins, Laurina won a maiden hurdle by 15 lengths and then a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse by 11 lengths.

Then it was to Cheltenham for the Mares’ Novices Hurdle, where she defeated Cap Soleil by 18 lengths.

Coincidentally, that race was registered as the Dawn Run Hurdle.

Since March of last year, Laurina has been seen twice more, once at Fairyhouse, where she hacked up again in a Grade 1 in April and then her romp at Sandown last weekend.

Form students might say she has beaten nothing classy and it’s easy to argue that, although she has slammed the decent Maria’s Benefit during her sequence of successes.

Sensulano was going for a hat-trick at Sandown, and she was trounced by 48 lengths!

Who knows how good Laurina is? Not me. But my hunch is she is something very special.

One thing that could prove crucial for the mare is ground.

So far she has shown a liking for juice and Mullins has kept her lightly raced due to conditions being too fast on occasions.

With Cheltenham just two months away, the concern is the ground in the lead up will be faster than ideal.

With that in mind and with many in racing wondering just when significant rain will fall in the UK, I got in contact with Yorkshire’s finest celebrity weather forecaster John Kettley.

He told me: “It’s ridiculous to try and forecast what might happen in March right now. But it would be crazy to think it’s not going to rain until Cheltenham.

"The weather is on a knife-edge.

“There will be rain next week and that could quite easily turn to snow at some stage in some areas.”

Even if JK turns out to be wrong — and I’d be highly surprised if he was — Cheltenham will be watered to have no faster than good ground on the first day and probably easier than that.

So ground is not going to be a problem for Laurina.

Back to Samcro, and it’s astonishing how some still think he is an over-hyped flop.

The horse has been struggling to breathe, for goodness sake.

Last season’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner flopped last time when only fifth behind Sharjah at Leopardstown at the end of last year. What was odd that day was the way he finished.

Stamina should have been his strong suit, but having cruised to the front he faded tamely in the straight.

As a Samcro groupie I just knew he wasn’t right and I sent a message to trainer Gordon Elliott straight after the race.

He replied with a shrug of the shoulders emoji. That was the right emoji to send as there was no way Gordon could have known on the day what we know now.

Samcro will be back.

But for now my dream is that Laurina does a Dawn Run.

It might not be a dream that has the consequences of the one the legendary Martin Luther King had, but it’s a dream all the same.

Follow Chappers on Twitter: @MCYeeehaaa for all his latest thoughts on the Sports Of Kings

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