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Hatton's Grace Hurdle - 30th November, 2014

With the news breaking on Friday lunchtime that Annie Power will not take her place in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle on Sunday means that the Grade 1 contest at Fairyhouse has lost a lot of its appeal, but it could now be a much more wide open affair on a stunning Irish card.

Willie Mullins will still saddle the likely favourite in the shape of 2012 winner Zaidpour and he was last seen getting his head in front in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan and the eight-year-old has still shown he oozes quality and should be up to winning this contest on a day that also sees the Drinmore Novice Chase take place.

Little King Robin has been a sparkling mare this season, but was unable to live with Hurricane Fly and Jezki last time out and Colin Bowe could let her take her place in the line-up and she has to be respected as will certainly be race-fit for this assignment.

Jessica Harrington's Jetson lowered the colours of superstar mare Quevega in the World Series Hurdle at the end of last season and will now aim to kick on in this event, whilst Lieutenant Colonel is another who catches the eye in a fascinating renewal.

Latest Betting for 2014 Hatton's Grace Hurdle

10/11 Zaidpour

7/2 Little King Robin

4/1 Jetson

5/1 Lieutenant Colonel

50/1 King Of The Picts

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Hatton's Grace Hurdle History

The Hatton's Grace Hurdle is a Grade One race run at Fairyhouse over two miles, four furlongs for horses aged four years or older and is widely regarded as a trial for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Established in 1994 and named in honour of the legendary Hatton's Grace, who won three Champion Hurdles for trainer Vincent O'Brien, this race has been one of the highlights of the Irish national hunt season as some of the leading hurdlers do battle for top class glory.

Dorans Pride showed early in the race's tenure that this would serve up future stars as Michael Hourigan's became a multiple Grade One winner including lifting the Irish Hennessy crown during an illustrious career.

However, the catalyst for this race becomin a major trial for the Champion Hurdles in the UK & Ireland was Aidan O'Brien's Istabraq, who won this race in 1997 and 1998.  O'Brien's phenomenon used this race as a timely warm-up as he went on to become one of the greatest hurdlers of all time winning four four Irish Champion Hurdle crowns as well as three Champion Hurdle titles at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer James Bowe had a terrific record in the late 90's and early 2000's as he saddled an unprecedented six winners of the race between 1999 and 2005.  Limestone Lad was a three-time winner of the race for Bowe, whilst Solerina was more impressive bagging a triumvirate of successes in 2003, 2004 and 2005 for the Irish handler.

More recently, Brave Inca won this contest in 2006 before going on to lift the Irish Champion Hurdle and English Champion Hurdle crown, whilst Hurricane Fly was an impressive winner of the 2010 Hatton's Grace before annihilating a top field in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Recent Winners of Hatton's Grace Hurdle

  • 2000 - Youlneverwalkalone
  • 2001 - Limestone Lad
  • 2002 - Limestone Lad
  • 2003 - Solerina
  • 2004 - Solerina
  • 2005 - Solerina
  • 2006 - Brave Inca
  • 2007 - Aitmatov
  • 2008 - Catch Me
  • 2009 - Oscar Dan Dan
  • 2010 - Hurricane Fly
  • 2011 - Voler La Vedette
  • 2012 - Zaidpour
  • 2013 - Jezki
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