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Horse Talk: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news

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Trainer Colm Murphy is preparing for another crack at a superstar with World Hurdle second Voler La Vedette, following news that she will take on Quevega at the Punchestown Festival.

The eight-year-old was last seen when runner-up to Big Buck’s in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham, finishing one and three quarter lengths adrift of the winner after making stealthy late headway and challenging at the last.

The prize-money for second place boosted the King’s Theatre mare’s earnings to over £385,000 and she has now won 13 and been place six times in 23 starts.

“She ran an absolute blinder,” Murphy said ahead of her upcoming clash with Quevega in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle at Punchestown. “We’re so thrilled and proud – but gutted at the same time.

“Going to the last I thought she had every chance, but in truth Big Buck’s was always holding her, almost toying with her.

“She’s unlucky to have run into a legend, but all being well we’ll be back next year for another go.”

Voler La Vedette has been installed as the 7-4 second favourite behind Quevega, the four-time winner of the mare’s hurdle at the Cheltenham festival, who heads the betting at 11-10 with Paddy Power.

Voler La Vedette’s continuing good form has delighted owner and breeder Paul Brophy, who confirmed that he has no plans to retire the King’s Theatre mare in the near future.

“She’ll take her place in the broodmare band in due course – but not yet,” Brophy said. “It’s fantastic to be here with a horse we’ve known since we foaled her.”

Paddy Power said of the proposed clash: “This really is the heavyweight battle of the two mares and while Quevega will probably go off a hot favourite, Voler La Vedette is in super form and put in the best performance of her career in running monster Big Buck’s to one and three quarter lengths at Cheltenham.”

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