There are a trio of Grade 1s on a top-class card at Fairyhouse on Sunday, including the Hatton's Grace Hurdle (14:35) over an extended two and a half miles.
The race has been chosen as the starting point for the exciting Impaire et Passe (Timeform weight-adjusted rating 171p) who created such a good impression during his novice campaign last term, winning all four starts, including Grade 1s at Cheltenham and Punchestown.
Impaire et Passe - Timeform's highest-rated novice hurdler last season - was particularly impressive in the Ballymore at Cheltenham where he quickened up sharply to readily settle matters, looking like a potentially top-class talent. He remains capable of better after only four starts over hurdles and stands out as the one to beat on his first start in open company.
The main danger to Impaire et Passe will be posed by last year's Hatton's Grace winner Teahupoo (170) who produced a very smart performance to beat Klassical Dream by a neck, with Honeysuckle two and a half lengths back in third. Teahupoo had to settle for minor honours in the Stayers' Hurdle and Champion Stayers Hurdle after winning the Galmoy impressively, but he has a good record fresh and there should be cut in the ground, so he's likely to give a good account of himself and ensure Impaire et Passe has to run to a high level on his return.
Teahupoo's trainer Gordon Elliott is also represented by Zanahiyr (166x) who has been in good order this term, following up a win in a three-runner conditions event at Punchestown with a better effort when runner-up to Bob Olinger in the Lismullen Hurdle. This poses a tougher test, however.
Buddy One (161) has also been in excellent order of late and arrives here in search of a hat-trick after decisive handicap victories at Galway and Cheltenham. He's a likeable and progressive sort but this is a significant rise in class.
Ashroe Diamond (158) took well to hurdling last season and won on three occasions, most notably in the Grade 1 mares' novice over this course and distance on her final start of the campaign. That form has worked out well and, while a step forward is required here, she gets the nod to grab third behind Impaire et Passe and Teahupoo.
Timeform's Analyst Verdict:
IMPAIRE ET PASSE is hugely exciting and may emerge as the main threat to Constitution Hill's dominance over hurdles this term. He can take this, although expect last year's winner Teahupoo to put up a stiff fight. Ashroe Diamond probably shouldn't be dismissed either after her impressive win here in April.
Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings:
171p Impaire et Passe
161 Buddy One
158 Ashroe Diamond
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