£600 Bargain Sky Ace Being Aimed At The Cheltenham Festival


One of the evolving stories of the season to date has seen the Shark Hanlon trained Skyace being bought for £600 and this term has gone on to land two events including a Grade Three at Down Royal.

The team are now dreaming even bigger with the bargain purchase with Hanlon explaining the mare will now take a little break and then be prepared for a tilt at the Mares Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival in March.

The five year old was bought for next to nothing after running in three bumpers for Willie Mullins and placing in all three of the events.

She was then given to Shark Hanlon and on her debut over timber at Tipperary she got off to a winning start and backed that up straight after at Gowran with another smart win.

She has been raced frequently in such little time but has truly come into her own this term winning both of her last two events in quality company.

Having been tried over different staying trips and it not working out, Hanlon moved her back to 2m at Down Royal and at odds of 66/1 saw off Champion Bumper third Queen's Brook to land the Grade Three Mares Novice Hurdle.

She returned on Sunday at Punchestown and although running in the thick fog, went on to land another superb event at odds at 28/1 taking the Listed Voler La Vedette Mares Novice Hurdle.

She proved that her shock win at Down Royal was no fluke and after beating some seriously good horses in two smart events, the Skyace team are now dreaming big.

(Credit ATR) 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 will look to take his star mare out of the limelight for a small amount of time and the again giver her a prep run before heading to Prestbury Park.

“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.”