Dan Barber and Martin Dixon discuss the Hatton's Grace Hurdle in the latest episode of Get Stuck In and Timeform's Jumps Editor was impressed with the beaten Impaire Et Passe.
The unbeaten Impaire Et Passe was having his first run outside novice company in Sunday's two and a half mile Grade One at Fairyhouse and was sent off the odds-on favourite.
However, having travelled strongly through the race, he was passed on the run-in by the reigning champion Teahupoo and had to settle for a second, one length behind the winner.
Bookmakers reacted by making Teahupoo the new ante-post favourite for the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle while Impaire Et Passe was pushed out for the Champion Hurdle.
Barber, though, saw more than enough from Impaire Et Passe to take plenty of positives from the race, saying on the latest episode of Get Stuck In:
"I thought Impaire Et Passe emerged with his reputation.....maybe not enhanced but certainly not diminished.
"Teahupoo's record fresh on testing ground. He tanked through the race, travelled better than Teahupoo. It's one of those. Teahupoo trained to the minute, fit as he could have been, gnawing at him, chipping away at him and ultimately he did crack late on.
"It was a pretty gross display of ability, to go through a race like that.
"Teahupoo is no mug, we know he's a real stayer at the trip and he was never going to glide through the race and just quicken past but he (Impaire Et Passe) wasn't really off the bridle until the last.
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"He was unbelievably impressive at Cheltenham last season. I remember going in to Cheltenham chatting to you (Martin Dixon) thinking I'm not sure two and a half is ideal for him; in the end, he was just so much better than them it didn't matter."
The likes of Istabraq and Rock On Ruby have successfully dropped back to the Champion Hurdle after winning what is currently known as the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles and Barber believes that's the route that Impaire Et Passe will take this season.
"That's the way I'd be looking at it," he continued.
"He's a flat out two miler and if we are going to throw a spanner into the works with Constitution Hill; I still do have in the back of my mind Aintree last season.
"On the home turn I thought this horse was going to go and streak away and I never thought he lacked for stamina but I almost felt there wasn't a great deal left late on which surprised me to some extent and they can't get him on the track at the minute.
"I think there is a Grade 1, open hurdle, with his (Impaire Et Passe) name on it; I thought it was a massive return."
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