Grade One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle 2023 Guide

Alex Dudley | @@Alex_Dudz_

Fairyhouse - December 03 2023
Fairyhouse 13:25
1
Rachael Blackmore

An Tobar

J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: N/A
Days: 26

Henry De Bromhead-trained An Tobar will be among the leading contenders in the Royal Bond this weekend. The six-year-old made an excellent start to life under rules after winning on debut at the start of November by over four lengths from Champagne Admiral.

His success over course and distance holds him in a strong position this weekend, and an improvement on that performance could make him very difficult to beat.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
12/01/24NAA20Sft11-125
03/12/23FAI16Sft11-123
07/11/23FAI16Hy11-41
Fairyhouse - December 03 2023
Fairyhouse 13:25
3
Keith Donoghue

Encanto Bruno

J: Keith Donoghue
T: Gavin Cromwell
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 11-12
OR: N/A
Days: 37

Gavin Cromwell’s yard is in excellent form at present, and one of the stable favourites will be back in action this weekend. Encanto Bruno made a very pleasing start to life with the Cromwell team, as he scored a stunning victory in Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in October.

The five-year-old looked incredibly classy on that day to beat Mel Monroe by two lengths. He is back down in trip this weekend, but that’s unlikely to be a major concern.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/12/23LEO16Hy11-109
03/12/23FAI16Sft11-128
27/10/23CHL20Gd11-51
03/08/23GAL20.5Gd/Y11-1PU
08/07/23BEL17Gd11-71
Fairyhouse - December 03 2023
Fairyhouse 13:25
4
Jack Kennedy

Farren Glory

J: Jack Kennedy
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: N/A
Days: 24

Farren Flory represents the in-form Gordon Elliott stable this weekend, as the six-year-old looks to secure a second straight win over hurdles. He was excellent on his return to the track after a 214-day break in November, beating Irish Panther by a widening nine-length margin.

He has previous experience over two miles after winning on heavy ground at Navan in a National Hunt flat race in March. Could be an interesting contender this weekend.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/02/24LEO16Sft11-129
26/12/23AIN16.5Sft11-8F
03/12/23FAI16Sft11-121
09/11/23CLO19.5Hy11-121
09/04/23FAI20.5Y11-35
Fairyhouse - December 03 2023
Fairyhouse 13:25
5
Michael O'Sullivan

Fascile Mode

J: Michael O'Sullivan
T: Thomas Mullins
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 11-12
OR: N/A
Days: 53

Fascile Mode is a runner from the Thomas Mullins stable in the Royal Bond this weekend. The five-year-old was very impressive on his hurdles debut at the start of October, finishing 12 lengths clear of Barometer over two miles at Punchestown.

He was kept in high class company in flat races last season, including when beating Champion Bumper fourth Lecky Watson by nearly three lengths at Leopardstown. Solid form on paper.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/02/24LEO16Sft11-128
27/12/23LEO16Hy11-124
03/12/23FAI16Sft11-126
11/10/23PUN16Y/Sft11-121
10/04/23FAI16Y/Sft11-44
Fairyhouse - December 03 2023
Fairyhouse 13:25
6
Danny Mullins

Horantzau D'airy

J: Danny Mullins
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: 134
Days: 37

Horantzau D’airy will rank among the outsiders in this field for trainer Willie Mullins. The six-year-old has plenty to find on runners in this field after failing to win in his previous three starts.

He has finished second in each of his previous two starts, including when finishing just over a length behind Firm Footings over an extended two miles and a furlong in October. Will need a mighty effort against these improvers.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
03/12/23FAI16Sft11-127
27/10/23SLI17.5Sft11-92
22/09/23LIS16Y/Sft10-72
03/08/23GAL20.5Gd/Y11-44
23/05/23PUN16Gd/Y11-121
Fairyhouse - December 03 2023
Fairyhouse 13:25
7
Jordan Gainford

King Of Kingsfield

J: Jordan Gainford
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 11-12
OR: N/A
Days: 21

Gordon Elliott-trained King Of Kingsfield has been slightly underwhelming on his two previous starts this season, despite much having been expected of the contender this season over hurdles.

He has finished second on each of his last two starts, including most recently when fading behind Slade Steel when finishing five lengths behind his rival over two miles. Something to prove.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/02/24LEO16Sft11-123
26/12/23LEO16Y11-121
03/12/23FAI16Sft11-122
12/11/23NAA16Sft11-122
02/10/23FAI16Sft11-122
Fairyhouse - December 03 2023
Fairyhouse 13:25
8
Sam Ewing

What's Up Darling

J: Sam Ewing
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: N/A
Days: 15

Gordon Elliott trains What’s Up Darling, who was a winner when last seen in November over two miles at Navan. He was forced to work hard on that day, eventually beating Dee Capo by a neck on soft conditions in the G1 Bar One Racing For Auction Novice Hurdle.

The conditions could suit the six-year-old this weekend, as he was also second in an 18-runner field over two miles at Limerick on testing ground in October.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
17/02/24GOW16Hy11-82
03/12/23FAI16Sft11-125
18/11/23NAV16Sft/Hy11-11
22/10/23LIM16Sft/Hy11-122
04/05/23TIP18Gd/Y11-91