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.”
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