Prize fund increased from €85,000 to €100,000
Punchestown Champion Hurdle Winner Supasundae Targets Unibet Morgiana for Season Debut
Punchestown Racecourse today announced that Unibet has renewed its sponsorship of the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle in a valuable deal that will see a significant prize fund increase from €85,000 to €100,000.
The G1 Unibet Morgiana Hurdle is the feature race on day two of the Punchestown Winter Festival, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November, and today’s announcement will see Unibet continue their association up to and including the 2020 running. The Unibet Morgiana Hurdle is the exclusive Irish leg of the Unibet Road to Cheltenham Series, an initiative that takes in five key races ahead of the Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The list of previous winners of the G1 Unibet Morgiana reads like a role of honour with great names including Faugheen, Hurricane Fly, Hardy Eustace, Brave Inca and Moscow Flyer featuring. Current and potential champion hurdlers often kick off their season campaign here and this could be the case for Punchestown champion hurdle winner Supasundae in this year’s renewal on Sunday 18th November.
Jessica Harrington, leading dual purpose trainer and Unibet Ambassador, is one of only two female trainers to have won the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham (Jezki, 2014). Commenting on today’s announcement Harrington said: “The grade one Unibet Morgiana Hurdle is a potential target for Supasundae’s seasonal debut. We have won the race before with Moscow Flyer so we are certainly due another shot at it at this stage!”
Harrington continued: “We are delighted to see Unibet further commit to Irish racing through their sponsorship of the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle in Punchestown for the next three years not to mention the increased prize fund”
Unibet is part of the Kindred Group, one of the largest online gambling companies in the world. The Morgiana Hurdle was previously sponsored by Stan James who were bought by the Kindred Group in 2015.
Ed Nicholson, Unibet’s Head of Racing Sponsorship and Communication said : “The list of previous Unibet Morgiana Hurdle winners reads like a who’s who of jump racing. The greats of the game - both equine and human - have won this fantastic race in recent times, including legends of the turf such as Faugheen, Hurricane Fly and Moscow Flyer”.
Nicholson continued: “Unibet remain humbled and honoured to be associated with such an iconic and prestigious race and we are delighted to announce the continuation of our company’s association with the contest and the significance increase in prize money”
“This race is the first of four Grade 1 two mile hurdle races that Unibet sponsor during the jumps season which form the main part of our seven race Unibet Road to Cheltenham series that culminates with the Unibet Champion hurdle itself at Cheltenham in March”
“The winner of the Unibet Morgiana is always a top class racehorse and we just can’t wait for this years renewal”
Head of Sales and Sponsorship at Punchestown, Janet Creighton said: “We are delighted to announce the extension of Unibet’s support of the Morgiana, Punchestown and Irish racing as a whole. Unibet have really showed commitment to the Irish jump racing product and the Unibet Morgiana has produced many brilliant champion hurdlers through the years. We are proud of our role as host of the only Irish leg on the Unibet Road to Cheltenham series and really look forward to seeing a top class renewal on Sunday 18th October”.
The 2018 Unibet Morgiana Hurdle takes place on Sunday 18th November, day two of the Punchestown Winter Festival. Entries available from 3pm on Thursday 25th October.