'I wouldn't put anyone off at 25-1' - Shark Hanlon priming Skyace for Galway
She has already caused upsets at 66-1 and 28-1 in two of her last three wins, and trainer John 'Shark' Hanlon says he would not discourage anyone from supporting stable star Skyace at 25-1 ahead of her bid for Guinness Galway Hurdle glory next Thursday.
Having remarkably been picked up for just £600 after hitting the frame in three bumpers for Willie Mullins, the six-year-old has taken connections on a rags-to-riches journey, culminating in a breakthrough Grade 1 win at Fairyhouse in April.
Hanlon, who declared the mare was "a bloody certainty" in the Racing Post prior to her memorable top-level success two starts ago, says the 140-rated hurdler has continuously been overlooked in her career but has done little wrong in his eyes.
"Every time she runs it seems like she's a bit disregarded – she's never too short and has won at big prices for us," he said.
"We're going into a handicap with a Grade 1 winner and she also won a Grade 3 and a Listed race last season. She's done nothing wrong."
Members of the Birdinthehand Syndicate, whose joyous celebrations in Dubai after Skyace's Fairyhouse win were widely shared on social media, are back on home soil for next week's €250,000 event, with the mare set to carry 10st 9lb if top-weight Saldier is declared.
"The lads are excited for next week and the mare is ready for it after doing probably her last piece of work on Thursday," said Hanlon.
"I've always said that she never takes the eye out of your head in her work but she came off the gallops bouncing at the Curragh in great form."
He added: "She goes there with a very live chance. I definitely wouldn't put anyone off at 25-1."
Hanlon has registered eight winners at the Galway festival in his career and is optimistic he can add to that tally this time around, as he is well represented across the seven-day spectacular.
"I think Fenta Des Obeaux, who was previously with Willie Mullins, is a very nice mare for the same syndicate as Skyace and we're really looking forward to her," he said of the €10,000 purchase entered in the 2m½f mares' handicap hurdle on Wednesday.
"Hallowed Star is a nice horse who we've always thought a fair bit of and with a bit of luck he won't be far away in a handicap hurdle on the Friday."
He added: "I'm looking forward to running Hewick in a handicap hurdle off his rating [entered in the 3m handicap hurdle on Thursday]. He ran a cracker over fences at Killarney last time. Over fences he's rated 130 but he's only 116 over hurdles."
"We've got a couple of bumper horses, including a nice four-year-old filly called Easytigerbandit. Teescomponentsyess is another we're hopeful about in a handicap too."
Guinness Galway Hurdle (July 29)
Bet365: 8 Belfast Banter, 9 Cape Gentleman, Winner Takes Itall, 10 Magic Tricks, Milkwood, Zero Ten, 12 Call Me Lyreen, Jesse Evans, Saldier, 14 bar
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