Fairyhouse Sunday – Analysis of the Three Grade 1s in Ireland

Super mare Honeysuckle aims to retain her Champion Hurdle crown.Super mare Honeysuckle aims to retain her Champion Hurdle crown.

In-depth Guide to the Big Races on Sunday

Few days on the entire racing calendar rival Sunday’s racing at Fairyhouse for quality. The three Grade 1s often have a huge impact on markets for later in the season and Racing Tips have delved into the fields for each of these races.


1:05 BARONERACING.COM Royal Bond Novice Hurdle

The last four favourites have won the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, but each of those have been evens or shorter and that is very unlikely to be the case this year.

MY MATE MOZZIE has the best form so far over hurdles, having won the Grade 3 For Auction Novice Hurdle ahead of useful bumper horse Chemical Energy last time. He has looked very good in what he’s done so far, but did not have the race sewn up before the last flight fall of Boothen Boy last time out and there’s some reputable prospects against him this weekend.

The most prominent of those is probably THREE STRIPE LIFE. The Champion Bumper form has yet to be advertised by the front two over hurdles, but the rest of the field have done a mixed job of proving the quality. Nevertheless, Three Stripe Life was having just his second start when fourth in that contest and did the job at long odds-on on his hurdling debut despite a mistake at the last.

His stablemate MIGHTY POTTER put in a more emphatic performance on his hurdling bow, winning by 29 lengths. It was a very modest field, but it’s rare an average horse puts in that kind of effort. The mare IMPERVIOUS is another fancied runner note having won all three so far, winning a Grade 3 against her own sex last time.

The other four will have to improve, but three of those are trained by Willie Mullins. Of those, ARCTIC WARRIOR looks capable of doing best.


1:35 BARONERACING.COM Drinmore Novice Chase

Envoi Allen won this a year ago and it’s rare for this to be won by a horse who wasn’t top class. 

The best of these over hurdles was BEACON EDGE who was third to Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on this card last year. However, he was defeated by Jessica Harrington’s LIFETIME AMBITION when the pair met in a Beginners’ Chase last month. That horse looked the more natural chaser, though Beacon Edge began to warm to his task and they arguably bring in the strongest form.

GABYNAKO looks to have improved for fences and he was a cosy winner on his second start in this sphere last time out. In so doing, he beat FURY ROAD into second and MIDNIGHT RUN, who was a fast-finishing fourth. Those two Gigginstown representatives finished in contrasting fashion, the former tiring and the latter running on. It remains to be seen if they can overturn form with the winner though.

CAPE GENTLEMAN should significantly benefit from returning up in trip, as he beat facile Troytown winner Run Wild Fred in a Cork Grade 3 before being put in his place when dropped back in distance. There is terrific depth in this race though, with GRAND PARADIS having travelled well behind Lifetime Ambition while all of BLEU BERRY, FIRE ATTACK and GLOBAL EQUITY will be winning decent races over fences even if they are outsiders here.


2:40 BARONERACING.COM Hatton’s Grace Hurdle

After fellow mare, Apple’s Jade, racked up a hat-trick in this contest between 2016-18, HONEYSUCKLE will attempt to match her after winning the last two editions.

She has been odds-on for each of them, slamming Bacardys by nine lengths. Yet, it was probably her least impressive performance of the season when she held on by half-a-length from RONALD PUMP a year ago. As such, it’s reasonable to ask if she’ll be fully tuned up for this, but given her exceptional unbeaten record she’s unlikely to be far below 100%.

Ronald Pump was only seen once more last season, finishing third to Klassical Dream in the Punchestown Stayers Hurdle. That demonstrated his wellbeing fresh, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, SALDIER has benefited for regular racing after his injury issues. He won the Galway Hurdle off topweight in July and followed up smoothly back in Grade 3 company.

ABACADABRAS has chased Honeysuckle’s tail to no avail on three occasions now, but after his Aintree Hurdle success in April, connections may hope this intermediate trip could help narrow previous gaps. LATEST EXHIBITION and SIRE DU BERLAIS are more known as stayers, the former over fences last season, so they will hope there is a pace to aim at so their stamina comes into play.

STORMY IRELAND ensures there’s a second Grade 1 winning mare in the field; she took the Punchestown Mares Hurdle and seems revitalised for having returned to Willie Mullins. DARASSO, SKYACE and SAMS PROFILE make up a field with outstanding depth.