Colm Murphy’s smart mare Voler La Vedette has restated her claim to be considered the main threat to Quevega landing a fourth successive win in the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle by impressively outpointing the useful Mourad for the second time this term when winning the Grade 2 woodiesdiy.com Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown, writes Elliot Slater.

Third behind Quevega in the 2010 renewal of the Cheltenham Festival contest, Voler La Vedette was not asked to take on Willie Mullins’ mare again last term and instead was saved until the big Fairyhouse meeting in late-April where the patience of connections was rewarded with the daughter of King’s Theatre running out a length-and-a-half winner over Blackstairmountain in the Grade 2 Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle.

Stepping up to three miles for the first time at Punchestown a month later, Murphy’s mare could only keep on at the one pace in the final two furlongs in finishing fourth in the Grade 1 affair behind none other than her bête noir, Quevega. Those following the World Hurdle betting will have been impressed.

This term Voler La Vedette seems to have improved again, scoring at Navan on her seasonal bow in November before winning in Grade 1 company for the first time when beating Mourad over two-and-a-half miles in the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on December 4, before confirming placings with the runner-up when proving she does get three miles with victory at Leopardstown’s Christmas fixture. People with a Betfair Cheltenham free bet should remember this.

Murphy now has to weigh up whether to go for the ‘David Nicholson’ once again, (a race for which his mare is now just a 4/1 shot having been available at up to 12/1 the previous week), or take on the awesome Big Buck’s (4/7) in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, where she is generally on offer at 10/1.

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