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Star mares on course for Fairyhouse thriller

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 at 02:49PM

A trio of star mares are set to clash in a thrilling renewal of the Grade 1 BARONERACING.COM Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on the second day of the Winter Festival at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

Cheltenham Festival winner Benie Des Dieux, ten-time Grade 1 winner Apple's Jade and the unbeaten Fairyhouse specialist Honeysuckle, trained by Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Henry De Bromhead respectively, head the nine horses remaining in the €125,000 event. Bacardys, which beat Apple's Jade to land Navan’s Lismullen Hurdle earlier this month, stands his ground for champion trainer Willie Mullins who has also left in Cheltenham Festival winners Penhill and Killultagh Vic.  

Joining Apple's Jade, winner of the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle for the past three years, from the Elliott yard are Coko Beach and Surin while the John Joe Walsh-trained Davids Charm completes the entries.

There are ten horses going forward for the BARONERACING.COM Royal Bond Hurdle, the first of Sunday’s three Grade 1 races and all eyes will be on Envoi Allen, unbeaten in five starts for Gordon Elliott. The local trainer could also call on the exciting Abacadabras while Willie Mullins also has two to choose from, the hat-trick seeking Foveros and Fast Buck.

Recent maiden hurdle winners Embittered, Midnight Run and Front View could yet represent Joseph O'Brien while Soviet Pimpernel is Peter Fahey’s hope with Darver Star, trained by Gavin Cromwell and Charles Byrnes’ Turnpike Trip also in contention.

A cracking renewal of the Grade 1 BARONERACING.COM Drinmore Novice Chase is very much on the cards with Elliott’s Battleoverdoyen heading the nine possible runners. He is unbeaten in two starts over fences and could yet be joined in the race by his stable companion Samcro, a winner on his chasing debut at Down Royal. Recent winners Tintangle and Champagne Classic complete a strong Cullentra entry.

The four-year-old Fakir D'oudairies which beat Melon to win on his first start over fences at Navan could carry the hopes of Joseph O'Brien while Willie Mullins has his Irish Grand National winner Burrows Saint and Chef Des Obeaux, which could have his first start for the stable since arriving from Nicky Henderson, in the mix.

Local trainer Matthew Smith has justifiably supplemented Ronald Pump which won a competitive beginners chase’ at Fairyhouse this month. Ellmarie Holden’s Ex Patriot makes up the field.

Peter Roe, Manager of Fairyhouse Racecourse, said: “We are delighted with the strength and depth of the entries for this weekend’s Bar One Racing Winter Festival. It promises to be one of the most informative race meetings of recent years and it will be great to see Apple’s Jade bid for her historic four-in-a-row in the BARONERACING.COM Hatton’s Grace Hurdle where she will face tough competition from amongst others, Honeysuckle who will be bidding to make it five from five at Fairyhouse. The ground is currently soft, but the forecast is mainly dry from Wednesday.”

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