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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Ricci hopeful that Let's Dance has all the right moves

Let's Dance: favourite for the Grade 2 Trull House Stud Mares' Hurdle
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4.50 Cheltenham
Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) | New course | 2m1f | 4yo+ | RUK/ITV

Willie Mullins landed the inaugural running of this mares' Grade 2 hurdle 12 months ago with Limini and he looks set to dominate this year's renewal with Let's Dance and Airlie Beach likely to be sent off first and second favourites.

Like Limini, Let's Dance carries the colours of Rich and Susannah Ricci and connections will be hoping she can carry on the good work as she has landed Graded contests on her last two starts at Leopardstown.

However, she is unlikely to have matters all her own way as Airlie Beach comes into the race with an unblemished record over hurdles, having won her previous six outings after landing a Kilbeggan bumper 20 months ago.

Both Mullins' main chances (he is also represented by Asthuria) seem very amenable as far as ground conditions are concerned as they have won on soft and good going.

Added spice
The presence of French-raider Titi Montmartre gives the race something of an international feel and though her trainer Robert Collet, who is having his having his first runner at the meeting, insists he is making the trip for pleasure, it would be no great shock or surprise to see the mare out-perform her likely starting price.

What they say

Willie Mullins, trainer of Airlie Beach, Let's Dance and Asthuria
See column

Paul Nicholls, trainer of Coillte Lass
She's done nothing wrong this season winning three and ran a tidy race at Doncaster the last day, but the Irish fillies all look hard to beat

Warren Greatrex, trainer of La Bague Au Roi
She has won six from seven and the only time she was beaten was when she came back sick from Aintree last year. She has won her three starts over hurdles very easily. It looks hot but I wouldn't swap her. She hasn't had good ground for a while, winning on slower ground than she likes. The only thing I am not sure of is how good she is because she has never been tested. The horse that was second last year, she beat convincingly which shows she is up to this level.

Richard Hobson, trainer of Tahira
She was pretty useful on the Flat and won a Listed hurdle at Haydock. She's got lots of experience and I think she'll have a great each-way chance.

Gordon Elliott, trainer of Barra
It's a really hot race and I would be thrilled if she could sneak a place.

Colin Tizzard, trainer of On Demand
She's come a long way this season and is a good mare, although she will be an outsider. She'll make it a good gallop and I could see her finishing in the first six. She'll make a nice novice chaser next season.

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Verdana Blue
I love this mare. There might be one or two too good for her, but she's been very impressive in her novices and loves this ground, so she's well worth a shot at it. She's pacey.

Robert Collet, trainer of Titi De Montmartre
I'm not looking at this as a challenge so much as a real pleasure. We will see how things go but I don't feel under the slightest pressure. She is having her first run of the year and I decided it would be nice to come here against the mares rather than run in a Group race for four-year-olds at Auteuil. She is my first runner here and we are here for pleasure, with the idea perhaps of coming back in the future better armed. She has schooled over the hurdles and I don't see that as a problem but we will have to see how she copes with the track, which is very different to those she is used to with it's rise and fall. But I am here for the experience and the pleasure and don't feel at all stressed.


She's got lots of experience and I think she'll have a great each-way chance
E.W. Terms
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