Sport

Impaire not likely to be Passe-d in Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse

Ballymore Novices' Hurdle hero Impaire Et Passe can start out on his path to the Champion Hurdle with victory in the 'Hatton's Grace' at Fairyhouse on Sunday Picture by PA
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle hero Impaire Et Passe can start out on his path to the Champion Hurdle with victory in the 'Hatton's Grace' at Fairyhouse on Sunday Picture by PA Ballymore Novices' Hurdle hero Impaire Et Passe can start out on his path to the Champion Hurdle with victory in the 'Hatton's Grace' at Fairyhouse on Sunday Picture by PA

Impaire Et Passe sets out on the road to the Champion Hurdle when reappearing in the ‘Hatton’s Grace’ at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

The unbeaten Diamond Boy gelding was imperious in a faultless novice campaign last season, with his brilliant victory in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle one of the highlights of the Cheltenham Festival.

With Constitution Hill currently such a dominant force in the hurdling division it would be great to see a genuine contender emerge and Willie Mullins’ charge looks the most likely to rise to the challenge.

He’s going to be a very short price on his return in the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One contest and it would be a major shock if he got turned over.

Last year’s winner Teahupoo appears most likely to give the hotpot most to do.

Gordon Elliott’s charge was narrowly denied in the Stayers’ Hurdle last March and is a classy sort in his own right.

Over this trip though Impaire Et Passe should have too many gears.

The Willie Mullins battalion has really started to swing into top gear in recent weeks and he could have another big day.

The Grade One Drinmore Novice Chase has only attracted five runners but it’s a cracking little race.

Sharjah came to fences late in his career but has been very impressive in his two victories over the larger obstacles and is fancied to add to his six top level successes over timber.

Letsbeclearaboutit and Found A Fifty are more traditional novice types and the veteran may have the edge at this stage of their careers.

Batman Girac is an interesting runner in the Grade Three Juvenile Hurdle.

The Bathyrhon gelding was a cosy winner on his second outing over hurdles in his native France and was snapped up for €150,000 at the sales subsequently.

Mullins mentioned him as a potential Triumph Hurdle horse in a recent stable tour and it looks significant that he comes here, for a race the yard won last year with Lossiemouth.

This could be the race of the weekend with some other very promising three-year-olds on view.

Elliott’s Kala Conti won on the bridle on her Irish debut at Navan a fortnight ago and looks very smart.

Another one to throw into the mix is Nara, who makes her first start for Henry de Bromhead. The JP McManus-owned filly has already won at Listed level over hurdles in her native France.

De Bromhead can land the other Grade One contest on the card, the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, with An Tobar.

The Gentlewave gelding made a big impression on his first outing for the yard over course and distance last month, and repaid connections’ patience as he was making his first start since winning his point-to-point in January 2022.

That form has been given a boost, with the runner-up Champagne Admiral winning in style since.

Encanto Bruno is an obvious danger in the race, after his impressive win at Cheltenham last time, but softer ground now would be a concern for the Mahler gelding.

SELECTIONS

11.55 Queen Jane

12.25 Batman Girac

12.55 Minella Crooner

1.25 An Tobar (Dbl)

2.00 Sharjah (Nap)

2.35 Impaire Et Passe

3.10 The Model Kingdom

3.40 Petit Secret