The Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle (2m4f) is the feature on Fairyhouse’s card today with unbeaten mare Honeysuckle looking to extend her winning run.
Trained by Henry de Bromhead for owner Kenneth Alexander, the five-year-old has caught the eye with her impressive performances since making her rules debut at today’s venue last year.
Her previous campaign ended with success in Grade 1 company at Fairyhouse and she made a successful start to this season when she was an 11-length winner over the Willie Mullins-trained Easy Game at the track in November.
This will be her toughest test to date as her opponents include the top-class duo Bacardys and Apple’s Jade, who finished first and second in the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle at Navan last month.
Fairyhouse’s card also includes the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase (2m4f) where Samcro bids to follow up his successful chasing debut, and the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (2m), which looks the ideal race for the Gordon Elliott-trained Envoi Allen, the easy winner on his hurdling debut at Down Royal.
Carlisle is the only track in England to stage a National Hunt meeting today while over in America, the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes (1m) is the main event at Del Mar.
De Rasher Counter strikes at Newbury
Young jockey Ben Jones secured the biggest victory of his career on Saturday when he partnered De Rasher Counter to an emphatic success in the Grade 3 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.
The seven-year-old was patiently brought into the race by his jockey and pushed on as the field turned from home. Despite The Conditional gaining ground on him, a clear jump at the last enabled De Rasher Counter to pull away and win by a length and a half.
De Rasher Counter’s victory sealed a fantastic couple of days for trainer Emma Lavelle at the Berkshire venue, following Paisley Park’s gutsy win in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle (3m) on Friday.
Lavelle, speaking to the Racing Post, said: “Someone said to me if Carlsberg did weekends then this is what it would be like. Best laid plans and all that and it so rarely comes off. What a ride Ben has given him, and it was magical to watch.
“This opens up a lot of options for the horse but I’m not going to come and say we have any big plans as we don’t have any right now.”
Buveur D’Air beaten
An enterprising ride from Henry Brooke aboard the Micky Hammond-trained Cornerstone Lad saw the pair lower the colours of dual Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D’Air in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
The pair were in front from the moment the tape lifted, with the four other runners dropped in, and Brooke got a breather into his mount in the back straight before kicking on three flights from home.
Buveur D’Air and Barry Geraghty closed quickly but after blundering at the second-last, the advantage was with Brooke and Cornerstone Lad. They cleared the final flight and held off the favourite’s challenge to score by a short-head.
It was subsequently revealed that Buveur D’Air had suffered an injury during the race, with a splinter of wood going into the lower section of his off fore when he hit the second-last flight.
The gelding returned to trainer Nicky Henderson’s yard on Saturday night and will have his injury assessed in the coming days.