Brave Victory for Hisaabaat in Champion 4yo Hurdle
1 Hisaabaat 4/1
Hisaabaat gained compensation for his defeat in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham as he outbattled his rivals in the AES Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle.
Dermot Weld's charge was beaten three lengths by Countrywide Flame at Prestbury Park and odds of 4-1 to go one place better looked generous in hindsight.
Kevin Ryan's Unknown Rebel set out at quite a clip under Brian Toomey and he was 25 lengths clear four flights from home with Darroun leading the chase in second.
Approaching two-out, he still had clear daylight between him and the chasing pack but they were beginning to reel-in the early leader and he was swallowed up before the last.
Hisaabaat swooped through with purpose under Andrew Lynch but Ut De Sivola went with him and the pair battled it out after the final flight.
Weld's runner found plenty under pressure though and held on by half a length from Ut De Sivola with Wingtips back in third.
The front pack got very close in the finish though and connections Hisaabaat had to endure a stewards' inquiry before their runner was confirmed as winner.
Balder Succes was sent off the 9-4 favourite but the Alan King-trained runner unshipped Robert Thornton at the first flight to the disappointment of punters.
Weld was delighted to see Hisaabaat add another Grade One to his victory in the Spring 4YO Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown in February but admitted a switch in codes is now on the cards.
"He's a very consistent horse and he got a good ride from Andrew," he told At The Races. "He's a horse that's getting better with every run. He won his Grade One at Leopardstown earlier in the year, he ran a smashing race to be second in the Triumph Hurdle and won today but has been very consistent in all his races.
"The visor makes him concentrate on tight tracks. He's just a very lazy, idle horse but he's progressed well.
"He was idle (on the Flat) last year. He's really come alive this year as a four-year-old and I would say this horse has a lot of progress in him.
"I would see him more in two years time (for the Champion Hurdle). I think next year will be pretty tough for him but he will progress, and keep getting better but my thoughts would be along two years' time."
Lynch said: "I was probably there just a bit too soon and he ran around a bit up the straight but in fairness he battled on well.
"It was a bit tight at one stage and David's jumped to the left (David Casey's mount Secret Edge at the second last) but when my lad got a bit of room, he just took off.
"He has a big heart. He ran a blinder at Cheltenham when he finished second and I think the blinkers do make a big difference to him. He had them on in Leopardstown as well and they seemed to make a big difference.
"It's been unbelievable to ride just one or two Grade One winners but to ride nine this season has just been fantastic."
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