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Jade De Grugy bounces back with Honeysuckle success

Jade De Grugy bounced back from a first career defeat at the Cheltenham Festival to claim an appropriate success in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Honeysuckle Mares’ Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The five-year-old was beaten four lengths into fourth place when well-fancied for the Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle in the Cotswolds on March 14 and lined up back on home soil as one of 10 runners for Willie Mullins in this Grade One contest.

Carrying the Kenny Alexander colours of the great Honeysuckle, Jade De Grugy was a 7-4 favourite for the two-and-a-half-mile affair in the hands of Paul Townend.

Paul Townend, Willie Mullins and Peter Molony (left to right) after victory on Jade De Grugy at Fairyhouse
Image: Paul Townend, Willie Mullins and Peter Molony (left to right) after victory on Jade De Grugy at Fairyhouse

For a moment turning for home she looked in a spot of trouble, with Townend having to get lower in the saddle, and it looked like her stablemate Spindleberry might claim top honours after she mastered Jessica Harrington’s Jetara after the second flight from home.

But to her credit, Jade De Grugy found plenty for pressure under a well-judged Townend ride and produced a big leap at the final obstacle when she needed it before pulling two and a quarter lengths clear on the run-in.

Mullins said: “That was a huge performance coming back from Cheltenham, she was very tough.

“Paul didn’t think he was going well a lot of the way, but it just shows what sort of engine she has.

“It’s tough luck on Spindleberry. I thought she had it won at the last, but as we saw yesterday so many races were lost between the last hurdle and the line.

“The extra half-mile was definitely a help to her (Jade De Grugy) and she does look like a two-and-a-half-mile mare. I’d imagine we’ll look at Punchestown with her now.”

Sky News
(c) Sky Sports 2024:Source