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 and is now being targeted at the Cheltenham festival.
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 was next seen 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.
The Mares Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival is her next target and will head straight to Cheltenham in March without another run with the £600 purchase looking to make one of the best stories of recent times in the sport.
(Credit ATTheRaces) “Skyace is back in about three weeks and is in great form. She will go straight for the (Daylesford) Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham,” said Hanlon.
“She put up between 30 and 40 kilos on her break, which is great. She is much stronger than she was when she went out.“The boys that own her (the Birdinthehand Syndicate) are all in Dubai and are very excited.
It’s a dream for them and that syndicate. I’ve sold a further five new horses to syndicates involving the lads and their friends out there.“To buy a horse for £600 and go to Cheltenham with a chance is a dream, and I think she has a live chance.”