Ricci calls on Mag to make mark in Hatton’s Grace

Ruby Walsh celebrates after winning on Vroum Vroum Mag

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Ricci calls on Mag
to make her mark By Brian Sheerin 7:40AM 4 DEC 2016

Preview: Fairyhouse, Sunday

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

THE wait to see Champion Hurdle winners Faugheen and Annie Power continues, but racing fans do at least get their first glimpse of Vroum Vroum Mag this season in the Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle.

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In the role of supersub the Rich Ricci-owned mare delivered the goods when called upon in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle last season, holding off Identity Thief and Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours.

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"Vroum Vroum Mag has not been beaten in ten starts for us and she'll be having her first run since dropping to two miles and winning the Punchestown Champion Hurdle at the end of last season," said trainer Willie Mullins. "She seems to be in good form and has proven herself versatile in terms of distance."

Mullins is also represented by Whiteout and Shaneshill, who was a disappointment on his return last month but is expected to be a different proposition with that run under his belt.

Mullins added: "Shaneshill seemed to need the run at Navan last month when he finished third in the Lismullen Hurdle. That run should have brought him on and, if it has, he should be competitive."

Elliott challenge

If the betting is correct then Apple's Jade is likely to prove the biggest threat to Mullins winning a fourth Hatton's Grace. The Fighting Fifth runner-up is the 4-1 joint-second favourite with Shaneshill in a market headed by Vroum Vroum Mag at 4-5.

Trainer Gordon Elliott, who is also represented by Dedigout, said of Apple's Jade's chance: "She ran well in the Fighting Fifth and the step up in trip would suit her well."

Monksland and Ivanovich Gorbatov complete the high-class seven-runner line-up.

Speaking on Saturday night Peter Roe, Fairyhouse general manager, said: "The ground will be good to yielding, yielding in places for Sunday's racing. We will race on two completely new tracks and I am absolutely over the moon with the state of the ground. It really is in terrific shape."

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