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Colm Murphy relishing Royal Bond bid with rapidly improving Impervious

Colm Murphy: trainer excited for his return to the big stage with Impervious at Fairyhouse
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Colm Murphy knows better than most what a good horse looks like. During a golden period in the early 2000s, Murphy won a hatful of Grade 1s with titans of jump racing Brave Inca, Big Zeb and Voler La Vedette but shocked the racing world when announcing his retirement from the training ranks in 2016.

His retirement proved short-lived, as he returned in the spring of 2019, but the multiple Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer has had to be patient in his quest to find his next ticket to the top.

Murphy is hoping unbeaten mare Impervious can be just that and believes the recent Grade 3 winner has earned her crack at the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (1.05) at Fairyhouse on Sunday, one of three top-level races on a stellar card.

The Gorey trainer said: "Impervious definitely deserves her chance in the race and we are looking forward to running her. She seems to be improving with every run. You are always hoping you come across a nice one and we think she is.

"She was very good at Down Royal and I couldn't be happier with her since so fingers crossed she can run well on Sunday."

Honeysuckle: star mare could make her seasonal reappearance at Fairyhouse on Sunday

Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle heads the stellar cast at Fairyhouse on Sunday as Henry de Bromhead's stable star bids to win the Grade 1 Hatton's Grace Hurdle (2.40) for a third year in a row.

If successful, Honeysuckle would emulate the brilliant Apple's Jade, trained by Gordon Elliott, whose Abacadabras and Sire Du Berlais feature among the 11 entries for the feature race of the weekend.

Paul Nolan has elected to give Latest Exhibition his first start of the season in the Hatton's Grace rather than tackle fences, revealing he was left disappointed with last season's novice chase campaign.

He said: "We thought this was the best place to start. We're not saying he won't go back over fences at some stage this season but, we just thought, the chasing division looks very competitive and why not give the hurdles a chance?

"We'll see where we go from Sunday. I just want to see him run respectably. He had a bit of a setback in the field while he was on a break over the summer. We are very happy with him since he has come back in but it just wasn't ideal."

Nolan added: "Last season was disappointing and there's no point saying otherwise. He won a beginners' chase and that's all. His run behind Monkfish at Leopardstown last Christmas was top drawer but unfortunately that seemed to take a bit out of him as he was never quite himself afterwards.

"Even though he ran respectably in the Irish National, and that he galloped to the line, I still felt it was a below-par run. We retain a huge amount of faith in him. He hasn’t many miles on the clock and I can't wait to see him back."

Willie Mullins, who has won the Hatton's Grace three times, has left Klassical Dream, Saldier and Stormy Ireland in the race.

Elliott is also strongly represented in the Royal Bond with Three Stripe Life and Mighty Potter.

The unbeaten hurdler My Mate Mozzie will be out to harden his Supreme credentials for Gavin Cromwell, with the trainer also strongly represented in the following Drinmore Novice Chase (1.35) with Gabynako.

Jessica Harrington's Lifetime Ambition, an impressive winner of his beginners' chase on his seasonal debut at Down Royal, is also set to tackle the Drinmore.

The trainer said: "It's going to be a tough ask as it looks a very good race but he seems to have improved for going chasing and he loves jumping."

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You are always hoping you come across a nice one and we think she is
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