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Hatton's Grace Hurdle Preview

The action at Fairyhouse continues, with the Hatton's Grace Hurdle. Taking on Sunday's trio of Grade 1s is blog debutant, the astute John Ring from Rebel Racing, @tips_ROI.

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Bar One Hatton’s Grace Hurdle
Grade 1, 2m4f, €85,000
1340 local, 0240 AEDST


Unfortunately a Grade 2 in all but name here but we get to see one of the most underrated horses in training in the form of Arctic Fire. Second in the Champion Hurdle last year, admittedly seemingly suited by the slowly run race, he is undoubtedly the class act in the field. He made a more than satisfactory return at Navan recently when beating the talented Monksland despite every possible thing that could go wrong going wrong. Held up off a slow pace, Ruby was slow to get after him when they quickened and he seemed at sea for a moment before storming up the rising ground to head the game Monksland (given a great ride) near the post. There can be no doubting he is the class act of this field on paper and I’m slightly surprised he is as big as 8/11 in places as he probably has a stone in hand here.

The young pretenders are many and very interesting horses going forward. We start with the Grade 1 placed Alpha Des Obeaux. He again steps up in class here having been a promising novice and looks one that should progress again. Always seen as a long term project by the wily Mouse Morris he was there or thereabouts in Grade 1 company last term only to come up short a few times. He is likely to need the run here, and 3 miles in time, but it’s interesting that he returns over hurdles and it may be that Mouse targets him at the Irish staying Grade 1’s which admittedly aren’t anywhere near up to scratch at the minute.

The glass horse Clondaw Court has a rare run as well. Off the track over a year Willie Mullins has openly admitted they have to run him here because they’ve managed to get him right and it’s the only available race for him, hardly confidence inspiring talk. However it should be interesting to see how he fares in this company, he is completely unexposed but has always been well thought of and we should find out a lot more about his ability here but the trip is likely to be short for him and it’s odds on he will need the run as well after so long off.

The really interesting one for me here is Gwencilly Berbas. He is unlikely to be anywhere near good enough to beat Arctic Fire if he is anywhere near his best. However as a 4 year old he receives four pounds from the older horses and has race fitness on his side. I had him running to 142 last time out and with the step up in trip likely to bring about further improvement he could be one to consider in the without market.

Snow Falcon is a horse who has a slightly inflated rating in my eyes and may well be one who struggles this year. He won last time despite some awful jumping and he really looks like a 3 miler. They are likely to go too quickly here for him and he might be difficult to place for Noel Meade this season.

Taglietelle is most definitely overpriced here. He is fully exposed on a mark of 148 but unlike many has race fitness on his side, is fully adept at the trip and seems as consistent as they come. The only negative would appear to be the likely heavy ground. Purely from a bookmaking side of things he is overpriced but at the same time I find it hard to see him even finishing second.

Thomas Edison simply has no hope, he’s rated on his Galway hurdles runs but he is about as likely to run to a mark of 150 as I am of being Champion Jockey this year.

To finish I find it odd that Arctic Fire is such a price at this stage. He is race fit and the class act in the field. On all known form he must be at least a stone clear and it would be surprising were he not to collect. In the without market I fancy Gwencilly Berbas to be second although he won’t be a big price either.

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