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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Why Tullow Tank is primed for battle

The Tullow Tank props up the Grade One action at Fairyhouse

The weekend is here but this is not just any weekend ... it's the one that manages to squash in the Hennessy Gold Cup, the Long Distance Hurdle, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, the Hatton's Grace, the Drinmore Novice Chase and the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle. It's a bloody big weekend.

The Hennessy will inevitably produce a new Gold Cup or Grand National hope. You don't win a gruelling race like that and not deserve your name to be associated with those two great staying races. Five-year-olds don't win the Hennessy, nor do Irish horses generally. Bright Highway was the last. Remember him? It was 1980.

Despite all of that, five-year-old Djakadam is as short as 7/2 to win for Willie Mullins on what is another major weekend for our red-hot champion trainer.

Mullins will send Arctic Fire to the Fighting Fifth Hurdle which is, unfortunately, the poor relation of Champion Hurdle trials this season as it comes so soon after the Morgiana featuring Hurricane Fly and Jezki, the Coral Hurdle which had Faugheen, and the Betfair Fixed Price Hurdle, won by The New One, and all on the same weekend as the Hatton's Grace! Newcastle's feature suffers badly for all of the above this year.

Annie Power's sole conqueror to date was More Of That in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham and he'll reappear at Newbury in the Long Distance Hurdle.

Then there is Sunday's fare on home soil. Three Grade Ones, a Grade Three and a bumper that I'll be amazed if it doesn't produce a star.

The previously mentioned Annie Power will leave the big fences to her left hand side as she remains over hurdles and the Hatton's Grace could turn into the battle of the mares if Little King Robin lines up but of course Jetson is there too.

Shock

In the Royal Bond we have a horse making his debut over hurdles in Allez Colombieres, who is already favourite for the Supreme Novices' at Cheltenham and the absence of No More Heroes will be a big help to him.

And in the Drinmore we have many promising chasers locking horns. Valseur Lido oozed class at Punchestown, Apache Stronghold is made for this game but so too is The Tullow Tank.

The recently deceased Dessie Hughes couldn't wait to oversee this horse campaign but unfortunately that wasn't to be. His daughter Sandra now takes over the reigns and with all the racing on this weekend, it is The Tullow Tank that would be the most special of winners.

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