28 December 2023

Jacob full of hope teaming up with Impaire Et Passe for the first time

28 December 2023

Daryl Jacob is extremely excited to be given the opportunity to ride Impaire Et Passe in the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown on Friday.

Only four are due to go to post in the two-mile Grade One, and three of those are trained by Willie Mullins.

It is an event Mullins has farmed in recent years – since 2010 he has won all bar three renewals, with Hurricane Fly and Sharjah winning four apiece.

Last year the champion trainer was successful with State Man and he lines up once more as the choice of Paul Townend.

That meant the ride on last year’s hugely impressive Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner Impaire Et Passe was free and as retained rider to owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede in the UK, Jacob was in pole position.

Impaire Et Passe lost his unbeaten record on his seasonal return in the Hatton’s Grace, and Mullins has taken the decision to drop him in trip to two miles. But Jacob feels the testing ground will make it more of a stamina test.

“I’m very much looking forward to riding him. He’s a very exciting horse for Simon and Isaac and everyone and this is another step on the ladder for him,” said Jacob.

“He’s racing over two miles for the first time in a while, but I’ve been in Ireland all week and there has been a lot of rain.

“The hurdle course on Wednesday went soft then heavy, but he has handled that sort of ground, he’s won over further and he has got speed.

“He’s a hugely exciting horse and I’m very grateful for the opportunity, I can’t wait to ride him.

“I rode him out on Thursday morning, he seems in really good form and I really don’t see the ground being an issue at all.”

I've had a nice few winners of late, but a Grade One win before the new year would be lovely

Jacob has enjoyed a particularly fruitful spell of late and is operating at a strike-rate of over 40 per cent for the past two weeks, and he would love to top it off with a Grade One.

“I’ve had a nice few winners of late, but a Grade One win before the new year would be lovely,” he said.

Understandably given his choice, Townend feels State Man sets the standard given the only horse who has finished in front of him when he has completed since joining Mullins is Constitution Hill.

He told his Ladbrokes blog: “He seems to set the standard this side of the water. His only defeat was by Constitution Hill last year. It’s interesting he’s being taken on by Impaire Et Passe.

“I thought Impaire Et Passe ran with a lot of credit in the Hatton’s Grace in Fairyhouse. He has a run under his belt and State Man won the Morgiana.

“It’s a big test, but State Man played at the top table all last season and sets the standard. The pair are sure to make a good race of it.”

Mullins also runs the mare Echoes In Rain, while Gordon Elliott’s Fils D’oudairies is the only other contender.

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