Honeysuckle faces six rivals as she seeks Hatton’s Grace repeat

Honeysuckle bids to take her unbeaten record under National Hunt rules to nine when she goes for back-to-back victories in the Baroneracing.com Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

Five of her wins have come at the County Meath venue, including this race last year when she broke Apple’s Jade’s stranglehold in the two-and-a-half-mile feature.

After winning the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in February, Henry de Bromhead’s brilliant mare ended a lucrative 2019-20 campaign when lowering the colours of Benie Des Dieux in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Her six rivals include the Willie Mullins-trained Bacardys, who was beaten nine lengths in second place in this race 12 months ago.

Gordon Elliott is two-handed with recent Grade Two Punchestown scorer Fury Road and Cracking Smart.

Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae runs in this race for a third time after finishing second in 2017 and 2018.

Matthew Smith’s Ronald Pump, runner-up in last season’s Stayers’ Hurdle, and Noel Meade’s Beacon Edge complete the septet.

Elliott’s exciting young prospect, Envoi Allen, faces just three rivals in the Baroneracing.com Drinmore Novice Chase.

Unbeaten in bumpers and over hurdles, the Cheveley Park-owned six-year-old took his 100 per cent record under rules to nine with an impressive chasing debut success at Down Royal.

Elliott also saddles Coko Beach while Joseph O’Brien provides the rest of the opposition with Assemble and Home By The Lee. Both have yet to taste defeat over fences.

The other Grade One on the card, the Baroneracing.com Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, has attracted seven runners.

Three are from the Elliott stable – Ballyadam, One Down and The Very Man – while Noel Meade relies on his very promising Cask Mate.

Ted Walsh’s Dewcup, the Mullins-trained N’golo and De Bromhead’s Annexation make up the field.

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