Ashroe Diamond set to sparkle for Mullins at Fairyhouse

Ashroe Diamond leads an eight-strong Willie Mullins team into battle in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Honeysuckle Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The champion trainer has saddled five of the last nine winners of the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One and appears intent on adding to his tally on Easter Sunday.

Ashroe Diamond looks the first string under Paul Townend, having won a Grade Three prize here before a late setback ruled her out of an intended appearance at the Cheltenham Festival last month.

Patrick Mullins, who partnered the six-year-old to a high-profile bumper success at Aintree last season, said: “It was unfortunate she didn’t get to run in Cheltenham, but she’s been 100 per cent since and she’s definitely the number one.

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“She’s obviously won at Fairyhouse and we’d like to think on her previous form in Grade Ones behind Facile Vega and Marine Nationale she’ll be hard to beat.”

Ashroe Diamond is joined by Night And Day (Daryl Jacob), Eabha Grace (Conor McNamara), Got Glory (Jack Foley), Hauturiere (Brian Hayes), Lot Of Joy (Nico de Boinville), Nikini (Patrick Mullins) and Pink In The Park (Phillip Enright).

“Night And Day missed Cheltenham as well and she’s a very talented mare,” Mullins added.

“She ran in this last year first time out, so that shows what we think of her and hopefully she can fulfil her potential.

“Got Glory is a mare with a lot of ability, but it is going to be hard for her on her first Irish start, and I ride Nikini, who ran all right in Cheltenham but the ground could be against her.”

Magical Zoe winning at Down Royal
Magical Zoe winning at Down Royal (Brian Lawless/PA)

Henry de Bromhead would undoubtedly love to win a prize named after his recently retired stable star Honeysuckle, who dominated her rivals in this race four years ago.

The trainer’s main hope appears to be Magical Zoe, who filled the runner-up spot in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, with stablemate Rioga Choice an outsider.

Gordon Elliott’s trio of Halka Du Tabert, Harmonya Maker and Shecouldbeanything also feature, as does the Tony Mullins-trained Princess Zoe.

The latter finished fifth at Cheltenham and her trainer expects to see his Group One-winning mare in a better light stepping back up in distance.

He said: “If you take the Cheltenham run on face value, going up half a mile will be a big advantage to us, but now this is a Grade One and there’s no penalties we’re 5lb worse off with Magical Zoe.

“If the half-mile negates the 5lb we’re right in there. You have to decide whether you think it will or not and I think it will – I think the extra half-mile is crucial to Zoe.”

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