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Faugheen, Annie Power & Alpha Des Obeaux head Big Name Entries for Fairyhouse Winter Festival

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 at 12:00PM

All three Bar One Racing-sponsored Grade 1 races on the second day of the Fairyhouse Winter Festival on Sunday, December 4th, have attracted some of the biggest names in National Hunt racing.

Boasting increased prize-money of €100,000, the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle has attracted an entry of 26 horses, an increase of 11 on last year. Successful in the race with Hurricane Fly in 2010, Zaidpour in 2012 and with Arctic Fire last year, Willie Mullins has entered 12 horses including Faugheen who hasn’t run since his facile victory in the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January. He could also be represented by leading mares Annie Power and Vroum Vroum Mag while the likes of Clondaw Warrior, Ivan Grozny, Nichols Canyon and Yorkhill make up a remarkably strong team for the champion trainer.  winter

Gordon Elliott has yet to win the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle and he has seven entries, headed by Apple’s Jade and Saturday’s Naas winner Missy Tata, to choose from. Snow Falcon ran out an impressive winner of the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan and he has been given an entry by Noel Meade while Gavin Cromwell could yet be represented by his star filly Jer’s Girl, the winner of two Grade 1 races last season.  

Mullins and Elliott dominate the entries for the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase but the season’s leading trainers might not have it all their own way in the €85,000 contest. Mouse Morris has entered recent winners Alpha Des Obeaux and Nambour while Tony Martin has put Anibale Fly, successful at Navan on Sunday, in the race and Noel Meade could well run the impressive Punchestown scorer Disko.

Jessies Dream gave Gordon Elliott his first Grade 1 success in the Bar One Drinmore Novice Chase in 2010 and he has entered 12 horses as he bids to add to the more recent wins in the race of the mighty Don Cossack in 2013 and No More Heroes last year. Diamond King, so impressive on his chasing debut at Galway last month and the Tipperary winner Jetstream Jack look to head his team.

Willie Mullins won the race as a jockey on the Jim Bolger-trained Clash Of The Ash in 1981 and he has three further victories as a trainer to his name. He has entered four horses and of the quartet, only Briar Hill has run over fences, winning at Killarney in August. However, Bellshill, Rathvinden and Yorkhill all showed enough over hurdles to warrant their inclusion.

Mullins saddled Long Dog and Bachasson to finish first and second respectively in the Grade 1 Bar One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle last year and he has made seven entries this time. The unbeaten Airlie Beach continues on an upward curve and is certainly worthy of her place in the early line-up as is Saturnas who was so impressive on his first start for the Closutton trainer at Naas on Saturday. Also with seven entries is Gordon Elliott who has put Sunday’s Grade 3 For Auction Novice Hurdle winner Labaik in the race along with Blood Crazed Tiger, the winner of his last four races. The promising Stretchingthetruth could carry the hopes of Noel Meade.

Barney O’Hare, Managing Director of Bar One Racing, said, “It's great to see so many talented horses from the top stables entered up for our big day of racing on December 4th at the Fairyhouse Winter Festival. The excitement is really starting to build and the countdown is on to what is going to be a fantastic meeting at a fixture which has a rich history.”

Peter Roe, General Manager of Fairyhouse Racecourse, said, “The Fairyhouse Winter Festival is again set to be a highlight of the pre-Christmas National Hunt season. Last year we witnessed three top-class winners of our three Grade 1 races in No More Heroes, Long Dog and Arctic Fire. We are delighted with the quality and depth of this year’s entrants and we look forward to another weekend of top-class racing. While bookings for our hospitality offering is very strong for both days, there is still limited space remaining. The weekend has become a very popular feature of the first half of the jumps season in Ireland and is again strongly supported by Bar One Racing.”

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