Apple's Jade, Honeysuckle and Samcro among stars set for Fairyhouse on Sunday
Apple's Jade and Honeysuckle will do battle at Fairyhouse on Sunday after they were among six names to stand their ground for the Grade 1 Hatton's Grace Hurdle (2.40).
The two mares will be joined by a formidable Willie Mullins-trained pair in Bacardys and Penhill. The latter, last year's Stayers' Hurdle winner, has been off the track since finishing 13 lengths behind Faugheen at Punchestown in April 2018. The John Walsh-trained Davids Charm completes the field.
Samcro and Fakir D'Oudairies will clash in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase (1.30). Both were impressive winners on their chasing debuts and already figure prominently in Cheltenham Festival markets.
Impressive course winner Ronald Pump will ensure the two market principals do not have it all their own way, while Burrows Saint, Chef Des Obeaux and Tintangle complete a high-class field of six.
The other Grade 1 on the card, the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (1.00), features Cheveley Park's classy five-year-old Envoi Allen, who puts his unbeaten record on the line against stablemate Abacadabras. Nine confirmed runners have been declared.
Just three runners will go to post in the Ladbrokes John Francome Novices' Chase (12.40) at Newbury on Saturday. Dual Grade 1 winning novice hurdler Reserve Tank got off the mark over fences at Wincanton this month and on ratings has at least 9lb in hand over both the Dan Skelton-trained Ardlethen and Danny Whizzbang, trained by Paul Nicholls.
Epatante, a beaten favourite in the mares' novice hurdle at Cheltenham in March, faces 11 rivals in the Listed Intermediate Hurdle (2.25).
Lake View Lad will attempt back-to-back wins in the £70,000 Betfair Rehearsal Handicap Chase (3.20) at Newcastle on Saturday, provided the meeting passes an 8am inspection.
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