Apple’s Jade is chasing a hat-trick of victories in the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle and is among the 16 remaining in the €125,000 event..
It is one of the feature races at the Fairyhouse Winter Festival on Saturday and Sunday with two days of top class action anticipated.
The Hattons Grace is one of three Grade 1 races on the day and Gordon Elliott’s star mare is bidding to join Limestone Lad and Solerina as a three-time winner.
Jade has beaten a Willie Mullins runner to win the last two renewals and the champion trainer looks set to provide the stiffest opposition again with Benie Des Dieux, Melon and Laurina also standing their ground. Samcro, which has an entry at Newcastle this weekend also features among the Elliott contingent.
Supasundae could be in line to make a seasonal reappearance for trainer Jessica Harrington.
Thirteen years champion flat jockey Johnny Murtagh was within a short head of winning the race with the Michael Halford-trained Golden Cross, but lost out to the aforementioned Solerina and Gary Hutchinson in a thrilling finish.
JOHNNY MURTAGH AND GOLDEN CROSS AT FAIRYHOUSE
For the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase Elliott has whittled his team down to five, headed by the Cheltenham Festival winners Delta Work and Blow By Blow.
Discorama is Paul Nolan’s big hope after his success at Naas while Sunday’s Navan winner Jetz is still in the race.
Last year Elliott broke the Mullins stranglehold on the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle and both trainers have a strong hand this time around.
Commander Of Fleet is one of four Elliott horses still in contention while Mullins can choose from a team of eight that includes the impressive Navan winner Aramon and Galway winners Royal Rendezvous and Sancta Simona.
Brace Yourself has been left in by Castletown trainer Noel Meade while Joseph O’Brien has the option of running both Choungaya and Triplicate in the contest.
Saturday's highlight is the Grade B EasyFix Handicap Chase worth €50,000 while for patrons there will be a Christmas Jumper (not a horse) Competition that will be judged by top jockey Rachael Blackmore.
The prize is a VIP trip to the BoyleSports Irish Grand National Day on Easter Monday, 22nd April which includes hospitality for four and an overnight for four at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.
Saturday - €15 (online €12); seniors / students €10, gates open at 10.30am.
Sunday - €25 (online €21); seniors / students €18, gates open at 10.30am.