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Hanlon hoping Skyace will be fit for Festival bid

Mon 10 Jan 2022
 Skyace after winning at Down Royal (Pic: Focusonracing)
Skyace after winning at Down Royal (Pic: Focusonracing)

Shark Hanlon is praying Skyace will be fit enough to run at the Cheltenham Festival after returning home lame from her run at Sandown on Saturday.

Bought for the bargain-basement price of £600 after placing in three bumpers for Willie Mullins, the seven-year-old has proved a real money-spinner for connections.

Skyace won five times last season, including a memorable Grade One victory at Fairyhouse in the spring.

The Hatton’s Grace Hurdle in late November proved a bridge too far – and while she fared much better when third in a Listed event on the Tolworth Hurdle undercard, the run came at a cost.

Hanlon said: “I couldn’t be happier only she came home lame. I knew when she jumped the second-last there was something wrong because she didn’t quicken.

“I was delighted with the run as it was ground that she wouldn’t like. At the second-last I thought she was going to win and she obviously hurt herself.”

Skyace finished fourth in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last March and Hanlon hopes she can return to the Cotswolds for a tilt at the Mares’ Hurdle this time around.

He added: “We’re checking her out over the next day or two. I’m hoping it’s not a long-term thing, but we’re just going to have to wait and see.

“I don’t think it’s a tendon, I think and hope it’s just a muscle injury. If it’s a muscle injury we’ll be fine and we’ll probably look to go straight to Cheltenham.”

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