Jade De Grugy carries Honeysuckle's colours to Grade 1 success

Jade De Grugy fittingly carried the famous blue and white silks of owner Kenny Alexander to victory in the Grade 1 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Honeysuckle Mares' Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday.

Trainer : WILLIE MULLINS Picture: AAP Image

Willie Mullins' mare was sent off the well-backed 7/4 market leader to regain the winning thread, having suffered a first career defeat when fourth in the Grade 2 Ryanair Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival just two and a half weeks ago.

The Kenny Alexander-owned five-year-old jumped well throughout on her step back up to two and a half miles, but she briefly looked in trouble approaching the final flight as stablemate Spindleberry set off up the run under the hands of Michael O'Sullivan.

However, Townend galvanised his mount after a good leap at the last and the daughter of Doctor Dino stayed on powerfully in the closing stages, eventually drawing clear to score by a comfortable two-and-a-quarter lengths.

Jetara (11/4) finished a further two and three-quarter lengths away back in third.

"That was a huge performance coming back from Cheltenham, she was very tough," said Mullins, who was training the winner of this Grade 1 prize for the third successive season.

"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."

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