Honey’s sweet performance
British-bred mare Honeysuckle maintained her unbeaten record with a stylish triumph in the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle (2m4f) at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
The five-year-old daughter of Sulamani, trained by Henry de Bromhead for Kenneth Alexander, came into the contest having won her only point-to-point outing and all five hurdle starts.
Honeysuckle travelled well and jumped beautifully under Rachael Blackmore and stayed on strongly to defeat Bacardys by nine lengths, with Apple’s Jade, winner of the contest for the previous three years, four lengths further back in third.
Fakir D’oudairies took advantage of Samcro’s departure two fences from home to come home an easy winner of the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase (2m4f).
Receiving 8lb from his four rivals, Fakir D’oudairies, trained by Joseph O’Brien for JP McManus, became the first four-year-old to take the prize in its 25-year history as a top-level event.
The Matthew Smith-trained Ronald Pump picked up the pieces to take the runner-up spot, 22 lengths adrift of the winner.
Envoi Allen was another star on the Fairyhouse card to keep his perfect race record intact with a ready success in the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (2m).
Winner of the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March, Envoi Allen is trained by Gordon Elliott for Cheveley Park Stud, whose silks are increasingly seen aboard top-class jumpers.
Always close to the pace under Davy Russell, Envoi Allen kept on well to see off stable companion Abacadabras by a length and a half with the Gavin Cromwell-trained Darver Star two and a half lengths away in third.
Gary Moore enjoys plenty of success at Plumpton and the West Sussex trainer has a runner in all seven races at the track today.
His best chance looks to be Neff, owned by Past The Post Racing, in the I E P Financial Novices’ Hurdle (2m), though the four-year-old must shoulder a penalty after winning on his hurdling debut at Fontwell in October. He was a good second to Ecco at Ascot on his last start in early November.
Moore also runs recent course winner Cheque En Blanc in the Tysers Handicap Chase (3m1½f) where the Linda Jewell-trained Uallrightharry, successful over course and distance in October, could prove a tough opponent.
There is also jump racing today at Musselburgh in Scotland while Wolverhampton stages a twilight all-weather fixture.
Buveur D’Air on the sidelines
Dual Champion Hurdle victor Buveur D’Air is set to miss the rest of the season after sustaining an injury in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday.
The eight-year-old returned with a severe splinter after going down by a short-head to Cornerstone Lad in the Grade 1 feature and underwent surgery on Sunday morning, with the operation a success according to trainer Nicky Henderson writing in his Unibet blog.
Mares Sale underway
The Tattersalls December Mares Sale kicks off a four-day run at Park Paddocks in Newmarket today.
Top-class sprinter Mabs Cross is one of the star names set to go under the hammer while stallion prospect Sands Of Mali, winner of the 2018 Group 1 Champions Sprint Stakes, is a late addition and sure to create plenty of interest when he takes his turn in the ring.