The Hatton’s Grace Hurdle (Grade 1) at Fairyhouse on December 4th could give clues to Cheltenham Festival.
Teahupoo, trained by Gordon Elliott, had not defeated a rival home in two Grade 1 contests before winning the Hatton’s Grace at 20-1 odds. He is likely to win the Stayers’ Hurdle as a favorite and is still open to improving over three miles, even though soft ground appears to be crucial to his chances.
On Racing Post Ratings, Klassical Dream only came in second, narrowly missing out on a career-best. He will appreciate the opportunity to race at three miles again in the Stayers’, where he should improve on his fifth-place finish from last year.
Other big-race eyecatchers
Honeysuckle’s bid for a fourth consecutive Hatton’s Grace ended as a 4-11 favorite. She traveled with her usual enthusiasm, but she became exhausted late in the race and finished third, ending her unbeaten career record. Since she finished second to State Man in the Irish Champion Hurdle, she has decided to try her luck in the Mares’ Hurdle instead of competing against the best horses in the two-mile division. She appears to be a good match for that role with Marie’s Rock solely on the basis of her form this season.
Ashdale Bob was only able to place fourth at Fairyhouse, but he performed much better when placing second in Grade 1 company at Leopardstown the following time. He finished third in the Coral Cup the year before, but his connections will undoubtedly take their chance in the Stayers’ this time.
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