Forget Christmas presents - Fairyhouse has all the bargains
David Jennings on a super day at Fairyhouse with three Grade 1s
There are people, lots of them, who will agonise over whether to get cotton socks or woollen ones for their great uncle today.
Shops will be thronged. Perfume purchased. Selection boxes stacked in boots. Another pair of pyjamas picked up for auntie Anne. But those poor, misguided souls who chose today for a stint of Christmas shopping are missing out on the best bargain of all.
Three Grade 1s for just €20. That is all it costs to get through the turnstiles at Fairyhouse today. Now that's what you call value. No gift receipts are required either, as you are guaranteed to love what you unwrap once you get inside.
The Hattons Grace Hurdle is the gift that keeps on giving. Danoli won it, so too did Dorans Pride, Istabraq won it twice, Solerina three times and even Hurricane Fly got his name on the roll of honour in 2010.
This time around we get another glimpse of the versatile Vroum Vroum Mag. She's so adaptable she could have shown up in the Morgiana last month, the Tingle Creek yesterday, the John Durkan next Sunday or the King George later this month. Nothing seems to faze her.
Switching stables seems to have fazed Apple's Jade, though. She's lost that air of invincibility that developed after her 41-length Aintree win in April. Defeats at Down Royal and last week at Newcastle, albeit by the narrowest margin, means she is on a retrieval mission today for her first try beyond 2m1f. Elliott also runs Dedigout; this time last year he trained neither.
Elliott had the last laugh on this day in 2015 when No More Heroes handed him a third Drinmore victory.
The strapping son of Presenting has passed away since, but Elliott's bid for a fourth success in the race is very much alive thanks to a three-pronged attack from Coral Cup winner Diamond King, A Toi Phil and 2014 Hattons Grace hero Lieutenant Colonel. Remember Don Cossack did the business in this in 2013, so maybe will we see a future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner today.
Could it be last year's World Hurdle runner-up Alpha Des Obeaux? He was tormented by Thistlecrack in March but, with Colin Tizzard's superstar stayer set to go down the Gold Cup route, Alpha Des Obeaux has already established himself as ante-post RSA favourite. A big run today would see him shorten.
Peace News is already towards the top of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle market after a silky smooth jumping debut at Cork, where he dented two very tall reputations. There are more tall reputations in the Royal Bond today, among them the Willie Mullins pair Saturnas and Penhill.
Ruby Walsh has sided with substance over style and stayed loyal to Penhill, but Paul Townend has won the Royal Bond on three occasions, one more than the Irish champion, so it would be foolish to underestimate Saturnas.
No one will ever underestimate Joseph O'Brien. The 23-year-old has already won the Triumph Hurdle, even if it is his father's name on the trophy, and he looks to have another live candidate in Londofhopeandglory. If he completes a hat-trick of wins in the opening Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle, Ireland's youngest trainer will be getting giddy again.
In Britain, Huntington hosts the Peterborough Chase where Josses Hill, Tea For Two, Dodging Bullets and More Of That all lock horns, while over at Kelso the 2015 Coral Cup winner Aux Ptits Soins goes in a novices' chase.
There are Cheltenham clues on both sides of the Irish Sea this afternoon so forget about socks and selection boxes and get yourself to Fairyhouse or switch on Attheraces. It will be a far more pleasant experience.