Bargain-buy Skyace sparks Festival dreams

Skyace will head straight for the Cheltenham Festival after continuing her fairytale campaign with victory at Punchestown on Sunday.

Bought for the bargain-basement price of £600 by trainer Shark Hanlon, after being placed in three bumpers for Willie Mullins, the five-year-old made a successful start for her new connections at Tipperary in June and has not looked back.

Despite having won a Grade Three event at Down Royal on her previous start, Skyace was a 28-1 outsider for Sunday’s Listed assignment – but proved that recent triumph was no fluke as she ran out a dominant five-length winner in the fog that shrouded the track.

Hanlon said: “I don’t know why she was 28-1. She’d won her graded race, beating a horse that finished third in the Champion Bumper (Queens Brook). If Willie Mullins or Gordon Elliott trained her, she would have been 3-1.

“She’s a very consistent mare. It’s a dream come true for the syndicate that own her. There’s five of them involved and it’s unreal to think you can turn £600 into £50,000 in the space of six months.”

Hanlon confirmed his intention to give Skyace a winter break before preparing her for a tilt at the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, for which she is a best-priced 25-1.

“She’ll be put away now and will come back for the mares’ novice hurdle in Cheltenham in March – that’s the big plan for her,” the trainer added.

“She’ll get six weeks off now and won’t run before Cheltenham. She’s only a five-year-old and an improving mare.

“The owners will be going to Cheltenham whatever happens. If they can’t go racing, then they’ll go down the town and watch it there.”

Other Recent Posts by This Author:

Your first 30 days for just £1