We are edging closer to Irish jump racing’s biggest meeting this side of Christmas, the Winter Festival at Fairyhouse, which will take place this year on Saturday November 30th and Sunday December 1st.
With three Grade One races on Sunday’s card plus the €100,000 two-mile Download The App BarOneRacing.com Handicap Hurdle, the €50,000 ‘Porterstown’ Chase, a €32,500 Grade 3 juvenile hurdle, the Royalhousedraw.com (Pro/Am) Flat Race, which was won last year by Cheltenham’s Champion Bumper winner Envoi Allen, and just short of €500,000 in prize-money on offer, it is a meeting to savour and we are delighted to once again be the fixture’s sponsor.
Our involvement with the Grade One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (which is now worth €90,000) began in 2006. Two years later, we took over sponsorship of the other Grade Ones, the Drinmore Novice Chase (also worth €90,000) and the card’s feature race, Hatton’s Grace Hurdle (now worth €125,000).
It has been a happy partnership and the 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. When Don Cossack won, Carlingford Lough was second and Road To Riches finished third. Those three horses have won 13 Grade 1 races between them.
Last year’s winner, Delta Work, finished third in this year’s Grade 1 RSA Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival before winning the Grade 1 Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival.
The Royal Bond has been won by such racing stars 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 seen winning the BarOneRacing.com Hatton’s Grace Hurdle in 2018
Apple’s Jade has won the famous race in each of the last three years and this year will bid to set a record of four wins in a race named after the great Vincent O’Brien’s hurdler who won three-successive Champion Hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival, 1949-51.
It is a great meeting with a great history.
This year’s race could see four-time Grade 1 winner Benie Des Dieux, the unbeaten and progressive Honeysuckle, impressive recent Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle winner Bacardys, history-seeking Apple’s Jade, the 2018 Cheltenham Festival Stayers’ Hurdle winner, Penhill, and comfortable recent Grade 3 Fishery Lane Hurdle winner Surin all line up in what would be a vintage renewal of the great race
Mark the dates in your diary – November 30th and December 1st – for the Bar One Racing Winter Festival at Fairyhouse.
We look forward to seeing you there.