Apple's Jade all set for historic fourth Hatton's Grace Hurdle attempt
The Gigginstown House-owned seven-year-old will renew rivalry with Bacardys
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Apple's Jade will make history if she can land the Baroneracing.com Hatton's Grace Hurdle for the fourth consecutive year at Fairyhouse on Sunday, writes Tony O'Hehir.
Gordon Eliott's mare is level with Limestone Lad and Solerina as a triple winners of the Hatton's Grace, but has been beaten in her last four outings and needs to return to the form of last year's victory in this race, when she trounced her rivals by 20 lengths.
The Gigginstown House-owned seven-year-old, attempting to end a four-race losing run, will renew rivalry with Bacardys, who beat her by nine-and-a-half lengths in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan last month.
Elliott said: "She was very disappointing at Navan but I'm not ruling her out completely. We think she's coming back to herself, but we'll have to see whether she's quite there yet."
The Henry de Bromhead-trained mare Honeysuckle is unbeaten in five starts and four of those victories have been at Fairyhouse, three of which have been achieved over today's trip.
Her most recent victory came last month when she took on the males for the first time and won by 11 lengths under Rachael Blackmore, who has ridden her to all her wins.
This will be the five-year-old's biggest test to date and speaking on Saturday De Bromhead, said: "Honeysuckle is very well. We're very happy with her and she has shown she likes Fairyhouse.
"We're going to learn more about her tomorrow as she's going into the big league for the first time."
Penhill, winner of the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018, is back in action after a 584-day absence.
He is one of three for Willie Mullins after Benie Des Dieux was ruled out of the race due to a pulled muscle.
Mullins, who has sent out three winners of the event, including Hurricane Fly and Arctic Fire in 2015, fields Bacardys, winner of the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan last month, and veteran of the party Killultagh Vic.
The versatile Davids Charm, a five-time hurdles winner, has won twice this season under today's rider Phillip Enright.
The eight-year-old finished fifth in the Irish Cesarewitch on his most recent start in October and his trainer John Joe Walsh said: "He's in good form and the trip shouldn't be a problem, but it's going to be tough conceding 7lb to the two mares."
We're going to learn more about her tomorrow as she's going into the big league for the first time.
- Henry De Bromhead