There were three Grade 1 contests on Fairyhouse’s Sunday card but only one superstar on display and Kenny Alexander’s Honeysuckle duly delivered the performance most observers were expecting with a facile success in the Hatton’s Grade Hurdle.
Having captured the two-and-a-half-mile contest for the previous two seasons, Honeysuckle was a short-priced favourite to land the hat-trick and extend her unbeaten record under Rules to 13 races.
Under regular rider Rachael Blackmore, Honeysuckle was settled in midfield as Danny Mullins set out to make it a true test on Stormy Ireland, followed at a distance by Ronald pump under Keith Donoghue.
With half a mile to run the leader started to drop back and it quickly became apparent that the race would be between Honeysuckle and Ronald Pump, with the rest of the eight-runner field standing no chance.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained mare sauntered to the front approaching the home turn as Ronald Pump struggled to keep pace and she was simply pushed out by Blackmore to record an easy eight-length success over Ronald Pump, with Abacadabras four-and-a-quarter lengths back in third.
There was a sad postscript to the race as the Paul Nolan-trained Latest Exhibition suffered a fatal injury after jumping the third last hurdle.
Earlier on the card, Statuaire, owned by ML Bloodstock, proved best of Willie Mullins’ three runners in the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (2m) while the Noel Meade-trained Beacon Edge carried the Gigginstown silks to success in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase (2m4f).