Some of the biggest names in National Hunt racing feature among the entries for the three Bar One Racing-sponsored Grade 1 races on the second day of the Fairyhouse Winter Festival on Sunday, December 3.
Faugheen heads an entry of 21 for the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. Absent since his success in the Grade 1 BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January of last year, the 2015 champion hurdler is one of nine horses entered in the €100,000 event by Willie Mullins who has won the race previously with Hurricane Fly in 2010, Zaidpour in 2012 and Arctic Fire two years ago. Mullins could also be represented by star mare Vroum Vroum Mag, Melon and Yorkhill.
Gordon Elliott has made five entries, headed by last year’s winner Apple’s Jade while Melbourne Cup winning trainer Joseph O’Brien has entered his Guinness Galway Hurdle hero Tigris River. Swamp Fox, runner-up in that race, has been given an entry by Joe Murphy, while Jessica Harrington could run both her 2014 Champion Hurdle winner Jezki and Supasundae, successful in the Grade 3 Coral Cup at Cheltenham in March. Grade 1 winner Jer’s Girl could yet represent Gavin Cromwell.
Elliott has a strong team going forward for the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase, a race that he has won on three previous occasions. Responsible for eight of the 23 entries, Elliott has dual chase winner Death Duty, the exciting mare Shattered Love and last weekend’s Down Royal winner Tombstone heading his challenge.
Also with three previous wins in the race as a trainer is Willie Mullins who can pick from a team of five that includes Bamako Moriviere, so impressive at Grade 3 level at Cork last weekend and Rathvinden, already a four-time winner over fences. Henry De Bromhead has made three entries headed by smart hurdler Monalee, yet to run over fences.
Willie Mullins has saddled the first two home in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle for the past two seasons and Sayar, successful in the Grade 3 Joe Mac Novice Hurdle at Tipperary at the beginning of last month, is one of his seven entries. The runaway Listowel festival winner Makitorix and fellow French import Sharjah have also been given entries along with promising mares Mystic Theatre, Glens Harmony and Good Thyne Tara. Gordon Elliott trumps Mullins with ten entries, including the hugely exciting Samcro, the triple bumper winner Blow By Blow and the highly-rated flat performer Pallasator. Joseph O’Brien’s five entries include Le Richebourg, while Noel Meade has the high-class bumper performer Red Jack among his three horses in the race.
Barney O’Hare, Managing Director of Bar One Racing, said: “I am delighted to continue our support of one of the best days racing in Ireland and am thrilled by the quality of the entries in our Bar One Racing Grade 1 events.”
Peter Roe, General Manager of Fairyhouse Racecourse, said: “The strength and depth of entries for our mid-season highlight fixture once again is a testament as to how this meeting has developed. The excitement of the first real test for the novices in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Hurdle and the Bar One Racing Drinmore Chase and the reappearance of such top hurdlers as Jezki, Faugheen and last year’s winner Apple’s Jade means the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace will once again be one of the top hurdle races of the season. I would like to thank Barney O’Hare and Bar One Racing for their continued generous support of the meeting.”