We are edging closer to Irish jump racing’s biggest meeting this side of Christmas, the Winter Festival at Fairyhouse, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday, November 30th and December 1st.
With three Grade One races on Sunday’s card plus a €100,000 two-mile handicap hurdle and over €700,000 in prize-money on offer, it is a meeting to savour and we are delighted to be the fixture’s sponsor once again.
Our involvement with the Grade One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle began in 2006. Two years later, we took over sponsorship of the other Grade Ones, the Drinmore Novice Chase and the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.
It has been a happy union as winners of these races reads like a Who’s Who of jump racing.
The Drinmore has been won in recent years by Coney Island and subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack, who beat Carlingford Lough and Road To Riches, ultimately the winners of 13 Grade One races between them, in a classic renewal of the race in 2015.
The Royal Bond has been won by such horses as Istabraq, Moscow Flyer, Hardy Eustace, Hurricane Fly, Jezki and Nichols Canyon, each of them a champion in their own right, some of them all-time greats.
That last description can be applied to Hatton’s Grace heroes like Danoli, Dorans Pride, Large Action, Istabraq, Limestone Lad, Solerina, Brave Inca, Hurricane Fly, Jezki and Apple’s Jade.
Apple’s Jade has won the famous race in each of the last three years and, having outdone the dual winner, the great Istabraq, last year, will now bid to outdo three-time winners, Limestone Lad and Solerina.
The race is named after legendary trainer Vincent O’Brien’s three-time Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner of the 1950s.
Mark the dates in your diary, November 30th and December 1st, for the Winter Festival at Fairyhouse.
See you there!