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Cormier claims Morebattle honours to set up bonus bid

Cormier backed up a Cheltenham success on his latest outing by winning the valuable bet365 Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso.

Sean Quinlan delivered Brian Ellison’s charge to lead in the straight and take the richest race ever staged at the Borders venue.

Only four of the scheduled eight flights were jumped as the two obstacles in the straight were omitted on both circuits due to the low sun.

Metier, the 3-1 favourite, led over the last of the flights jumped but there was still a long way to go and he faded out of contention.

Buveur D’Air, having his first run for almost a year, made no impression and it was Cormier (8-1) who came out of the pack to take the race by storm.

He battled on well to score by a length and a half from Saint D’Oroux with Faivoir a nose away in third place, putting him in line to bid for a £100,000 bonus should he follow up with victory in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Ellison said: “He’s a great little horse who never lets you down. He used to be very keen when we first got him, but he’s obviously settled now and you can switch him off.

“He’s just improved with racing and is a lot more grown up than he used to be.

“Sean said he was off the bit early on today they were going that quick, then he’s just come hard on it at the top bend. If anything he got there too early.

“Taking the hurdles in the straight out didn’t bother him as he’s won a few races on the Flat.

“He’s won at Cheltenham, so we know he acts round there. Whether he’s good enough, it doesn’t really matter – he’s won a £100,000 race now and Dan (Gilbert, part-owner) lives over the road from Cheltenham.”

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