Fly in frame for Grace return

HURRICANE FLY heads 13 five-day entries for the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

Winner of the Rabobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown on his last start in April, all eyes will be on Willie Mullins’ classy six-year-old.

Mullins has another possible in course and scorer Mourad, while the Co Carlow handler’s brother, Tom, has left in last year’s winner Oscar Dan Dan.

Solwhit, who chased home Hurricane Fly at Punchestown, stands his ground.

Charles Byrnes’ charge made a successful reappearance in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown and the respective second and third that day, Colm Murphy’s Voler La Vedette and the Noel Meade-trained Donnas Palm, could renew rivalry.

Meade also has Aitmatov, with Jumbo Rio, Luska Lad, On The Way Out, Powerstation, Shinrock Paddy and Summit Meeting completing a quality line-up.

Sunday’s contest will be Hurricane Fly’s first attempt at two and a half miles since arriving in Ireland, but the champion trainer in unfazed by that prospect.

“The Hatton’s Grace is the plan with Hurricane Fly and the trip shouldn’t be a problem,” said Mullins. “As a four-year-old in France, he was running over two and a half miles.

“We worked him on the Flat last week and he went well, so we will see how he is this week, and hopefully go to Fairyhouse.”

Triple Grade One-winning hurdler Mikael D’Haguenet could make his Irish fencing debut in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novices’ Chase at the big Fairyhouse meeting.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old, who has been sidelined since May 2009, is among 10 acceptors for the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One contest. Mullins said: “We schooled him last week, and he went very well, and Paul Townend was thrilled with the way he jumped, so I’m happy with his progress.”

Gordon Elliott is looking forward to running Jessies Dream, who won at the first time of asking over the bigger obstacles at Galway last month.

“He won nicely and has come on for the run, so we are looking forward to it and hoping he can run a good race on Sunday,” said the Co Meath trainer.

Noel Meade could saddle Realt Dubh, while Paul Nolan has left in Noble Prince. Both horses were recent winners over fences at Punchestown.

The possibles are completed by Back Of The Pack, Bostons Angel, Erritt Lake, Head Of The Posse, Kakagh and Lucky William.

Willie Mullins’ exciting recruit Zaidpour features among eight possible runners in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

The French import, a half-brother to Grade One winner Zaynar, made an impressive start for the Irish champion trainer when winning at Punchestown earlier this month.

Among his potential weekend opposition is The Shepherd King.

The six-year-old beat a decent field on his hurdling introduction at Galway and trainer Tom Cooper is looking forward to stepping him up in grade.

“The plan is for him to run and we’re very happy with him at the moment,” said Cooper.

“It’s a step up for him but he was good in Galway and the form has worked out well, with the second and third both winning since.

“He’s entitled to take his chance, without a doubt.

“I think he would prefer a bit better ground, but he did win very well in a schooling bumper at Tipperary in very testing ground last season.

“He is a horse with a lot of speed and that heavy ground does just take it out of them, but he has won a point-to-point over three miles, so he should be all right.”

Noel Meade has left in Dark Prospect, Perfect Smile and Prima Vista, while Carloswayback, Mount Helicon and Oilily complete the entries.

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