We have another packed schedule of National Hunt action to look forward to this coming weekend with top class contests on offer from both sides of the Irish Sea. Topping the bill over in Ireland is this Grade 1 from Fairyhouse. Won by the likes of Champion Hurdlers Jezki and Hurricane Fly in recent years, the 2018 edition sees a talented mare bidding for a place in the history books.
There’s a lot to like about a number of the runners in this year’s field in what looks set to be an enthralling renewal. For our money though the challengers have it all to do if they are to dethrone the defending champion.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
2m4f is the trip for this Grade 1 Hurdle open to runners aged four and older which offers €125,000 in total prize money. The going at the track is currently described as good and is likely to stay that way.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good||2m4f||Grade 1||€125,000||16 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Hatton’s Grace Hurdle Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from the last running of the race. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
We look to have an excellent edition in store this year should the main protagonists hold their ground, including a couple of winners form the Cheltenham Festival and a mare attempting to become the first ever three-time winner of the race.
APPLE’S RETURNS FOR ANOTHER BITE
There’s really only one place to start when assessing this race, and that’s with two-time heroine Apple’s Jade. Shocking odds-on favourite Vroum Vroum Mag when getting up by a short head in 2016, it was a little easier last year as she left the field trailing in her wake to score by nine lengths from the ill-fated Nichols Canyon. Two from two at the track and still only six years old, she warmed up for this with an 11-length romp in a Grade 2 at Navan and is the one the rest have to aim at.
MULLINS’ MELON A JUICY BET?
Apple’s Jade isn’t the top-rated runner in this field though (although her 7lbs mare’s allowance does even things up exactly), that honour falls to the Willie Mullins-trained Champion Hurdle runner up, Melon. Clearly a neck second to Buveur D’Air in the Cheltenham showpiece represents high class form, and may even on the face of it make him the one to beat. He does have a couple of questions to answer though. Firstly, this will be his first run at the track, and secondly – and more significantly – his first effort at a trip in excess of 2m1f.
If there is one runner in this field who still falls into the “could be anything” category, it is surely the Mullins-trained filly, Laurina. Having won each of her four starts for Mullins – with no rival getting to within eight lengths of her at the line – we do know she’s good, but just how good we may well find out here. Not only has she won by a distance on every occasion, she has done so with her head in her chest. A winner at the trip and at this track, she looks very dangerous. Yet to race on anything quicker than soft though, the surface would be a big question mark.
Final Verdict: Apple’s Jade To Win
Laurina is one of the runners we are keen to keep onside this season, and she’s actually a shorter price for the Champion Hurdle itself than she is for this race. She does however need the rains to arrive if she is to take her place in the line-up, and that looks at best doubtful at this stage. Keep her in mind should the heavens open though.
As things stand the one to be on is defending champion, Apple’s Jade. Reportedly flying along at home, she certainly looked as well as ever last time out and can stamp her class on proceedings once again.
Hatton’s Grace Hurdle Winners
Nine of the past 10 winners of this have been between five and seven years of age. Apple’s Jade was the only exception, when scoring as a four year old in 2016. This has also been a good race for those towards the head of the market, with the past 10 years seeing five wining favourites or joint favourites and no winner returning an SP of bigger than 11/2.
|2017||Apple’s Jade||Evs||Gordon Elliott||Jack Kennedy|
|2016||Apple’s Jade||4/1||Gordon Elliott||Bryan Cooper|
|2015||Arctic Fire||4/5||Willie Mullins||Ruby Walsh|
|2014||Lieutenant Colonel||7/2||Sandra Hughes||Bryan Cooper|
|2013||Jezki||4/6||Jessica Harrington||Tony McCoy|