20/09- I’ve picked another one here in a wide-open looking mares’ novice hurdle, I’m not sure why but I’m always drawn to this race and there are some very exciting horses in here. This week I’ve sided with one that I actually backed on every run she had last year, Grangee. I was originally ruling her out when looking at this race because I wanted any decisions to be head over heart. However, having rewatched her races, I’m now confident in making her a selection.
On pedigree she’s very well related, her sire also sired grade one winner, Greaneteen as well as super mare Benie Des Dieux. On the dam’s side, she has a full brother that went off favourite for the Fred Winter at Cheltenham and finished a decent enough seventh there, disappointing since though and we’ve already seen better form from Grangee.
Her first start was an impressive win in a Galway Bumper, she settled towards the rear of the field before making smooth headway and going clear inside the last two furlongs before being eased down to win comfortably. With these races, it’s not always easy to judge as we don’t know exactly what she’s beaten. We can probably assume she is above average based on the fact that her next start Mullins upped her to listed company going across to Market Rasen. She was perhaps a little disappointing in third on the day but the winner that day was Eileendover who is very good and I think she just got caught a little for pace and experience that day. Eileendover had previously won twice before and has since won on the flat as well as going off favourite for the grade two mares’ bumper at Aintree. Splitting the two that day was Miss Lamb who had been fairly supported from 40/1 into to 20/1, she passed Grangee late on to pick up second place. Miss Lambs’ next start was also in the mares’ bumper at Aintree where she reversed form with Eileendover and finished an excellent third finishing just behind Elle Est Belle, the early market leader for the mares’ novice next year. Just behind Grangee in fourth was Dragon Bones, who on her next start won a listed hurdle and then went on a run winning a further three hurdles races from four starts, the only loss coming when she fell when disputing the lead 2 out. I think this particular bumper is above average and the first four home could all be very good.
I’m not sure how but after that listed third she was totally written off for her next start, a grade two bumper at Leopardstown, she somehow opened at 22/1 and her starting price was still 18/1. She won that day with her and Party Central finishing 5 lengths clear off the highly rated Brandy Love in third. It was the manner of her win that impressed me most, not because she did it in style, in fact, it was the opposite. She was keen and travelled wide throughout before hanging left close to home, despite that she kept on well again towards the finish with Party Central never really looking like passing her. Party Central won a listed bumper on her next start going off just 6/4. Brandy Love was the Mullins first string that day going off odds on, but she was no match for Grangee.
Her next start was in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, where she was closest at the finish and I think still impressively finished 6th against the geldings. Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit are obviously very good. Elle Est Belle was third that day on what is her career best performance but could only manage second next time out in the Mares Bumper at Aintree, finishing just ahead of Miss Lamb. In fourth was Three Stripe Life who I rate highly for some of the novice hurdles next year. Fifth and sixth were Super Six and Grangee who finished together, she was staying on well that day and seemed to enjoy the Cheltenham Hill.
Her final start was in the grade three mares bumper at Punchestown, where she went off odds on, duly obliging with a seven length victory in an easy manner. If she takes to hurdling, which I think she will, 16/1 is a price I will gladly take. She may end up being my cliff horse this year but owes me nothing already.
I’ve recently read some comments on her from Patrick Mullins and I’ll leave them here for you “a tiny little mare, possibly the smallest we have in the yard, but she’s as big as Quevega was” now I’m not saying that’s a direct comparison at all, but that is some name drop to throw in there! He then follows on with, after her Galway win “I wasn’t quite sure she was Cheltenham and Punchestown class at that point” I get the impression and it seems to be backed up by the fact Patrick only rode her on debut (when she was the only Mullins horse) and then on her final start; that she either doesn’t show much at home or continually defies expectations.