A - ZRunners Horse Racing Fixtures and Results
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HORSE RACING FEATURE
Irish preview: A guide to the top-class action at Fairyhouse
Timeform's Tony McFadden previews the top-class racing at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
Day two of Fairyhouse's Winter Festival, which features three Grade 1s, is always one of the highlights of the pre-Christmas calendar and last year it had a significant bearing on the Cheltenham Festival. Honeysuckle won the Hatton's Grace en route to landing the Mares' Hurdle, Envoi Allen took the Royal Bond before bagging the Ballymore, while Samcro made amends for a late exit in the Drinmore when winning the JLT at Cheltenham.
Honeysuckle, defending her crown in the Hatton's Grace (14:35), and Envoi Allen, bidding to extend his unbeaten record under Rules to ten in the Drinmore (13:35), are again the headline acts, though both will be odds-on – heavily so in Envoi Allen's case – and not appealing betting mediums for most punters. The other Grade 1 on the card, the Royal Bond (13:05), is also set to feature an odds-on favourite in the shape of Ballyadam, who represents Gordon Elliott and Cheveley Park Stud, the same connections as Envoi Allen.
The looming shadow of Envoi Allen, a horse described by Timeform in the Chasers & Hurdlers annual as having "everything needed to develop into one of the greats of the sport", has resulted in the Drinmore cutting up into a four-runner affair. Assemble, Coko Beach and Home By The Lee are all useful chasers in their own right, but it would be a huge surprise were they to inflict a first defeat on Envoi Allen, who looked a complete natural over fences when putting in a flawless round of jumping at Down Royal last month. Odds of 1/7 about Envoi Allen offer an indication of the task facing his rivals.