Thursday, 17 August 2017

Leading Festival fancy Airlie Beach out to prove Grade One winning credentials on the flat

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Airlie Beach, who lost her seven race unbeaten record at the Cheltenham Festival, is expected to break her flat maiden at Tramore this evening (8:20).

Willie Mullins' star hurdler hasn't tasted victory since her impressive victory in Fairyhouse's Grade One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle in December.

The seven-year-old was fancied in the Mares Novice Hurdle at the Festival, but was extremely disappointing when only defeating two rivals, in a race won by stable companion Let's Dance.

She wasn't defeated too far on her flat debut at Killarney, with Mullins' She's So Flawless beating her by just under a length before strengthening that form with a third place finish in the Connacht Oaks.

After an encouraging place in the Galway Plate, connections are confident of a solid performance from the former Grade One winner.

"Airlie Beach goes for the Ladies Maiden over two miles with Kate Harrington on board," said Mullins.

"She ran a fantastic race when third in the Galway Hurdle and this looks an ideal opportunity.

"It'll be disappointing if she doesn't collect."

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Airlie Beach will hope to follow in the footsteps of Detroit City, who won both the Triumph Hurdle and Cesarewitch in 2006.

She has a wide array of options if she wins as expected tonight, with a good handicap mark she could pick up some valuable prize money throughout the latter part of the flat season.

Although she would need to raise her mark to get in, the likes of the Irish and English Cesarewitch could be an option.

The likes of Leading Light and Detroit City have won the Newmarket handicap, after good careers over hurdles.

Airlie Beach is a 1-2 shot to take the final race at Tramore tonight.

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