THE Grade 1 Royal Bond Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday went the way of Statuaire (120) for Willie Mullins in a similar time to Fil Dor (121) posted in the Grade 3 Juvenile hurdle.

The juvenile race time was 0.1 seconds faster but was 25 lengths inferior to the handicap hurdle won by Gua Du Large.

In a shortened race, the time difference reduced with Gordon Elliott’s three-year-old narrowing the gap to 18 lengths as well as still finishing ahead of the Grade 1 novice field.

A stronger pace would have suited Statuaire (82.0) better as she was notably headstrong in the hands of Danny Mullins, although she still found energy reserves to take advantage of the mistake My Mate Mozzie (119) made at the last.

The eyecatcher both in terms of finishing effort and looks was Mighty Potter (119) who posted 82.3 seconds for the closing sectional having only realised what the job was all about at the back of the last hurdle and up the run-in.

Fil Dor just got the better of a protracted duel with Lunar Power (121) who both closed off in 82.0 seconds, the pair look all set to contest a Grade 1 in the same sphere over Christmas.


The early pace was frenetic in the Grade 1 Drinmore Chase with Gabynako (151) and Lifetime Ambition (140) goading one another to go faster from flag fall before Beacon Edge swooped late to pick up the pieces as the pace collapsed late.

The overall race in comparison to the opening race on the card won by Alohamora (121) only paints half the picture with the difference between the two races 4.7 seconds for the full course and distance.

Allowing both races to gather stride, a split screen view of the races from the second last with a circuit to run confirms how quick Gabynako had gone early and why several of his rivals were struggling, the winner included, fully five fences from home.

The gap between the races early on the circuit was 2.6 seconds before growing to an extreme of 6.4 seconds or 32 lengths as Gavin Cromwell’s gelding had his field stretched and making mistakes.

Unfortunately for the gallant six-year-old, he made mistakes of his own at each of the last two fences prevented him from finishing the job as he was overhauled by a strong staying Beacon Edge.

Noel Meade’s seven-year-old needed every yard of the closing sectional from the fifth last fence, which he covered 95.8 seconds, to get to the lead.

Alohamora posted 93.6 seconds for the same distance of ground but was much swifter from the third last as the gap between the races reduced to 1.9 seconds.

The final piece of proof of the pace collapse was Smoking Gun (138) (92.6) clocked a faster closing sectional than both races at the end of his three-mile-and-five-furlong chase to give Denis O’Regan a double on the afternoon.