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Punchestown News

Punchestown News: Fairyhouse: Arctic fires to land Hatton's Grace with ease

Posted: 29th Nov 2015


Arctic Fire: won by an eased-down four lengths

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)   

Arctic fires to land Hatton's Grace with ease

Report: Fairyhouse, Sunday

Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m4f, 4yo+

HINDSIGHT is a wonderful thing and there were plenty of punters delighted by the 4-5 price of winning favourite Arctic Fire - who won his first Grade 1 in this year's renewal of the Hatton's Grace in the manner of a 1-5 shot.

Limestone Lad, who won the race at 13-2 in 1999, remains the biggest-priced winner in sixteen years with favourite backers once again collecting in the two-and-a-half mile contest as Willie Mullins' consistent six-year-old travelled the best horse in the race and duly delivered.

The Wicklow Bloodstock-owned gelding has been cut to 8-1 with Betfred and Sky Bet for the Stan James Champion Hurdle in March - a race which looks set to be dominated by the Irish contenders once again.

Stablemate Clondaw Court made the running at an even tempo in the seven-runner field, and although Mouse Morris's Alpha Des Obeaux and Alan Fleming's Gwencily Berbas led the field into the home straight, Ruby Walsh was ready to pounce aboard Arctic Fire.

Crowd's delight

Another nifty leap at the second-last flight ensured Walsh sent the favourite into the lead, much to the delight of the Fairyhouse crowd, and the pair fairly scooted clear after the last to beat Alpha Des Obeaux by an eased-down four lengths.

It certainly wasn't the strongest of Grade 1 events, but Arctic Fire's ready success will provide a timely confidence boost for the likeable type, who is set to face much stiffer tasks in the coming months.

"We'll roll on to Christmas now and I imagine we'll stay at Leopardstown with him," said trainer Willie Mullins.

He added: "The first thing Ruby said about him today was how keen he was and I think he'll be better dropped in trip in a more truly run contest. He's not an ideal candidate for this trip or further because he is so keen."

Festive plans

Mullins confirmed his plans for Christmas for his three star hurdlers, with Arctic Fire and Nichols Canyon set to stay on Irish shores.

He said: "With horses who knows what can happen, but my thinking at the moment is to run this horse and Nichols Canyon at Leopardstown and send Faugheen back for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

"Arctic Fire will need to improve again but the ratings told the story today, he was entitled to win like he did and didn't need to improve on his best runs.

"Looking at him in the parade ring though I think he there is plenty of improvement in him. He looked a bit big, although he is a horse that can carry a bit of condition."

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