Penhill primed for Hatton’s Grace return

Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Penhill is on course to return to action in next month’s Baroneracing.com Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.

The eight-year-old has had just three runs since his Albert Bartlett victory at Cheltenham in 2017 – but showed his engine remained very much intact when winning the Stayers’ Hurdle on his seasonal reappearance in 2018.

He missed the whole of last season, but Willie Mullins is happy with him at present and has his sights fixed on Fairyhouse on December 1.

The trainer said: “Penhill has been brilliant, (son and assistant) Patrick (Mullins) rode him on Tuesday and he was good.

“We’re very pleased with his preparation so far.

“I’m happy that I changed tack this year in that I’m just going to go with him – we may as well find out early if he’s going to stay sound or not, but so far so good. He’s ready to go to Fairyhouse.”

Mullins also has the mare Benie Des Dieux on course for the Hatton’s Grace.

Her sole defeat in eight races since arriving from France came when she fell at the last when clear in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. She subsequently won at Punchestown and the French Champion Hurdle.

Mullins said: “Benie goes for the Hatton’s Grace as well.

“The Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham is her aim, and we’ll see if there’s anything in between.

“I don’t know if there’s anything over fences that I want to win with her. She’s very good in this division. She’s a French Champion Hurdle winner over a trip, so I’m happy enough to stick at that with her.

“When the mares’ chase comes in (at Cheltenham, in 2021) it might be a different matter, but we’ll see!”

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