Va Va Vroum at Fairyhouse
Annie Power and Faugheen may be yet to grace us this season and their seasonal debut's are certainly eagerly awaited but Vroum Vroum Mag is the star of the show at Fairyhouse tomorrow for the feature of their Winter Festival.
The County Meath venue will stage three Grade One's and a fascinating Grade Three Juvenile Hurdle and while it is rather unsurprising that Vroum Vroum Mag has been installed as the bookmakers favourite for the Hatton's Grace Hurdle, the offer of 1/1 for her to win her third Grade One on the bounce does look rather generous.
It's probably fair to say that no horse in training will accumulate the same amount of entries as Vroum Vroum Mag as she has not only proven herself over hurdles last season but is a multiple Grade Two winner over fences and while she clearly won't run in the John Durkan at Punchestown tomorrow week, she is in four races at Leopardstown over Christmas as well as the King George at Kempton and the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in a couple of weeks.
Where Willie Mullins see's her going in the long term this season, he himself probably doesn't even know but tomorrow should see her bring up the Grade One hat-trick.
Apple's Jade is next best in the betting but it would be a massive ask for her to bounce back after her effort in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and Shaneshill does have the benefit of a run under his belt but probably wants further.
Willie Mullins is without a runner in the Drinmore Novice Chase but Gordon Elliott does have a strong hand in the race with A Toi Phil and Diamond King .
Diamond King is the current favourite and he was an emphatic winner of his only chase outing to date, while A Toi Phil won at Punchestown a couple of weeks ago in the hands of Ruby Walsh as Bryan Cooper opted to ride Disko.
Cooper had a difficult choice again on this occasion but there's a chance he may regret the choice as Alpha Des Obeaux is given the nod. The Mouse Morris-trained six-year-old was second best to Thistlecrack in the three-mile hurdling division last season and while he definitely does want further than tomorrow's trip of 2m4f, the race may well be set up from to run a big race and finally gain the Grade One triumph that has so far eluded him.
It is simply the way with Irish racing now that on a big afternoon such as tomorrow that Gigginstown are going to have a lot of big chances and their Cork maiden hurdle winner Peace News will carry a loft reputation in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle for which he is the current market leader.
Peace News was certainly impressive and it would appear that that particular race was an above average maiden hurdle so maybe he will be able to score again but Gordon Elliott's Labaik is preferred.
Barry Geraghty will become his third jockey in as many hurdle races and there is no doubt the five-year-old has his quirks as he thinks about jumping off at the start of the race but there's also no doubt he has an engine and hopefully he can prevail again in the colours of bloodstock agent Aidan O'Ryan.
In the opening Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle the Triumph Hurdle market may be in for a makeover if Landofhopeandglory and make it three from three but JP McManus' other runner, Soir De Chantenay, is a fascinating inclusion for Gavin Cromwell as he is already a three-time hurdle winner in France and puts that form to the test on his new start for the trainer who enjoyed one of his finest days at Fairyhouse with Jer's Girl last season.
Mega Fortune is well regarded for the Gordon Elliott team so it's a hot race despite the small field.
Meanwhile, having now missed both the Morgiana Hurdle and the Hatton's Grace, Faugheen's season is likely to start over the Christmas period according to Patrick Mullins.
He said: "We'll just wait until he's really sparkling again. It was unfortunate we missed that bit of time with his bruised foot, but he is back riding out."