Fever set to turn up the heat
Man On The Spot previews all of the action from Sunday's Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle card at Fairyhouse.
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12.35 Bar One Racing Juvenile 3-Y-O Hurdle
OUR CONOR, a lightly-raced but progressive type on the Flat, produced an impressive debut victory at Navan last month where he was always travelling well and defied a couple of mistakes to win easily.
He meets better opponents here but it will take a good one to lower his colours and Dayrina, who was well behind, is held. Brog Deas was slightly higher rated on the level and, after a promising hurdling debut at Thurles, he scrambled home in a maiden at Cork where he would have won convincingly but for a mistake at the second last.
South South West beat the consistent Everything Zain at Clonmel and has since won on the Flat while Stocktons Wing also beat the same horse at Down Royal last time and is improving.
13.05 Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle
Willie Mullins saddles half of this field and we must assume that CHAMPAGNE FEVER is the pick with Ruby Walsh on board. His mount, the winner of championship bumpers at Cheltenham and Punchestown, had little to beat on his hurdling debut at Cork but did it well enough and can take high rank among the novices this season.
Jezki was well behind the selection at Cheltenham but has done really well since turning to hurdling and made a big impression when easily landing a Grade 3 at Naas. There's much more to come from the four-year-old, who should have the edge in speed over Minsk, though the latter has been in excellent form both on the Flat and over timber so should prove a threat.
The remaining trio are all useful but will need to raise their game against potentially top-class rivals.
13.35 Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase
The prolific Pride Of the Artic and progressive Texas Jack are very useful but will be facing much stiffer competition this time. Arvika Ligeonniere took some time to find his best form but won a novice hurdle and a beginners chase at Punchestown in the style of a very useful performer and could be anything.
Buckers Bridge is unbeaten between the flags, in bumpers and after a very promising debut over fences at Punchestown where he battled to victory over the useful Sword Of Destiny. That will stand him in good stead though he'll need to make further progress if he's to see off the talented DEDIGOUT.
Tony Martin won this last year with Bog Warrior and this season's representative has looked equally as good, ending the last campaign with victory in a Grade 1 novice hurdle before a sparkling debut over fences a month ago when he beat subsequent dual winner Happy New Year by no less than 34l.
14.05 Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Mares Handicap Chase
Cloughmile won this last year but she was in much better form and is 8lb higher in the weights. Kylebeg Krystle, who was 10l back in third, is inconsistent but shouldn't be ruled out entirely as she often pops up when not expected.
Shop Dj has a touch of quality about her though she may just need this after a break and QUARRYVALE looks a better option. Jimmy Mangan's mare ran a fine race in a Listed contest behind Roi Du Mee at Thurles last time and though done no favours by the handicapper will be more at home in this grade.
Our Girl Salley was taking on something special when runner-up to Tarla at Clonmel and her overall form, including when twice finishing in front of Avondhu Lady, puts her in the picture along with the consistent Miss Pepperpot, though the latter may prefer further. Rising Time and Oscars Business are others to consider in an open event.
14.40 Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle
VOLER LA VEDETTE won this a year ago and though suffering a shock defeat on her comeback can go in again. Colm Murphy's mare gave Big Buck's the fright of his life in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham and can reverse January's Galmoy Hurdle running with Zaidpour as she failed to settle that day and had nothing left at the finish.
Willie Mullins' charge is still a threat over this trip and should do better than stablemate So Young, who has yet to prove himself at this level, but Monksland, whose only defeat when completing the course came when third to Simonsig in the Neptune at Cheltenham, looks potentially high class this season and he's been very lightly raced.
15.10 Caffrey's Bar And Restaurant Of Batterstown Handicap Chase
This will take some getting in the conditions and Our Victoria hasn't proved she stays anywhere near this far while Jadanli is still probably a few pounds high.
DROIM TOLL gets the vote as he stays forever and is the only C&D winner in the line-up. He beat subsequent Irish National winner Lion Na Bearnai here on New Year's Day and is just 6lb higher than when landing a Punchestown marathon in May.
Tarquinius has been handed a 10lb rise for his latest success but he's still at the right end of the handicap in this gruelling event while both Highdownhill and Action Master arrive in winning form and the latter is looking well treated over fences compared to his hurdles rating.
15.40 O'Doherty's Audio & Video Production Ltd. (Pro/Am) Flat Race
The market should prove invaluable here but TALBOT ROAD, a very easy winner of his only start between the flags at Monksgrange in March, can remain unbeaten.
Thomond scrambled home on his introduction at Kilmallock in April but Noel Meade has won this twice in recent years so this one shouldn't be underestimated. Willie Mullins saddles Outlander, pulled up in his first two point-to-points but runner-up at Lisronagh in March and sure to do better while Saffron Wells showed some promise in a Punchestown bumper in April.
All Day Long and Indian File are newcomers to note in a tricky finale to unravel.