We have a small 6 runner field for the rescheduled, Grade 3, Red Mills Trial Hurdle with the track now being switched from Gowran Park to Fairyhouse.
Current favourite Jason The Militant has an entry into the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham which indicates that his connections clearly hold him in high regard. Previous winners of this race have tended to turn up at the Champion Hurdle and I expect this years victor to follow a similar path. He has some smart form this season finishing both a short head and then half a length behind Abracadabras in the WKD Hurdle and then the Morgiana respectively. Having to carry top weight, especially after such a lengthy absence is far from ideal but he sets the standard and looks the one to beat.
Petit Mouchoir is a clear danger to his opposition. The front running veteran continuously competes in Graded races but just doesn't seem to have the class to win them anymore. In fact, the last time Petit Mouchoir won a race over hurdles was the Irish Champion Hurdle back in January 2017. Gordon Elliott’s stalwart always runs his race and his relentless galloping from the front usually puts him in the frame when it comes to the final stages. However at the age of 10 his best days are probably long gone and he‘s unlikely to topple some of his younger rivals.
Darasso is a smart hurdler who seems to have been targeted at the Red Mills for the past 2 years. He has a good race record finishing 1st (2019) and 2nd (2020) but I think the switch to Fairyhouse could be a major issue. Gowran Park is an undulating galloping track, with a stiff uphill finish, compared to Fairyhouse which is much flatter. Darasso's two performances in the Red Mills came by tracking the pace and then finishing well up the hill. Fairyhouse will not see the leaders fade away as easily here and as such the eight year old will need to adjust and adapt.
Even though he‘s burdened with top weight it’s hard to look past Jason The Militant who, if at his best, should be winning. Likely to sit just off the pace behind the likes of Petit Mouchoir the race should be tailor made for him to show his credentials before a tilt at the Champion Hurdle in three weeks time.
JASON THE MILITANT (WIN)
written by Charlie Sharp