Cheltenham Impaire Et passe wins the Ballymore Novice Hurdle Grade 1 © Photo Healy Racing
The imperious and impressive Impaire Et Passe heads the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on Sunday at Fairyhouse and is a warm order to make a successful start to his campaign.
There is plenty of talent in behind him though with a total of five high-class contenders declared to head into battle for Sunday’s richest purse.
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Take a look at the declarations below.
Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m.4f.
Impaire Et Passe - the French import is four from four over obstacles since joining Willie Mullins. The five-year-old landed the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March where he shrugged off stablemate Gaelic Warrior before winning at Punchestown by 7.5 lengths. He is odds-on to take this en route to the Champion Hurdle.
Teahupoo - a star stayer who goes well fresh and won this last year when turning over odds-on favourite Honeysuckle and holding off Klassical Dream by a neck. Finished a very good third in the Stayers’ Hurdle in March and is a three-time winner at Fairyhouse. Everything is in his favour, he will be fully tuned up and will relish the soft ground.
Ashroe Diamond - A five-time winning, lightly-raced mare who loves Fairyhouse, having recorded her last two wins at the track and mares have a good record in this race. Trained by Willie Mullins, the six-year-old landed the Grade 1 Honeysuckle Novice Hurdle when last seen here in April. The form of that race has worked out exceptionally well with five of those in behind her having won since, including the smart Harmonya Maker who saw off Brandy Love by 11 lengths. Deserves her place having finished third behind Marine Nationale and Facile Vega last term.
Buddy One - recently landed a Cheltenham handicap over 3m in ready fashion when giving two stone to the second. Paul Gilligan’s staying hurdler was placed at Cheltenham and Aintree festivals last season but the six-year-old takes a big step up in class. Connections are confident he will improve for his last run and stated he has come out of his latest run at Cheltenham ‘very, very well’.
Zanahiyr - second behind Bob Olinger on his seasonal return at Navan last month. Has been mixing it in top company but yet to win a Grade 1 in 12 attempts. A tough, honest horse who will give his all but may once again fall short.
Verdict: Impaire Et Passe remains unbeaten and is fancied to retain his unblemished record. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ashroe Diamond outrun her odds.
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