The four-year-old Won In The Dark, third in last season’s Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival, could face esteemed opposition, with three of the first four horses in the betting for the 2009 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle all entered. These are Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle victor Katchit, current Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle favourite Binocular and last season’s Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle hero Crack Away Jack.
Harty revealed today: "The Boylesports.com International is an option for Won In The Dark and if it was good ground I would say he would go there. We are trying to get as good ground as we can for him, so we entered him and we will see what happens during the week. If it comes up more good than soft we will let him take his chance. He really needs nice ground.
"He was lucky enough to have good ground almost every time he ran last season, even at Christmas time, but it has been hard to come by this season. The ground has been soft here in Ireland for a good while."
Won In The Dark was a top-class juvenile hurdler last season. The Montjeu gelding won the Grade One Durkan New Homes Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown last Christmas as well as the Grade One Champion 4-Y-O Hurdle at Punchestown in April. He opened this season’s account in the Grade One Maplewood Developments Hurdle at Punchestown on November 16. Won In The Dark was not disgraced to finish fourth behind Hardy Eustace on unsuitably heavy going.
Harty continued: "Won In The Dark is a smart little horse; he is genuine and loves to gallop away. He needs the good ground because it is hard enough as a four-year-old against these nice horses, especially if the ground is against him.
"He is in great form and ran well here on really heavy ground in November. That was his first attempt against the older horses and he was only five lengths off Jered in the end. Davy (Russell) was not hard on him and we are happy with him."