Honeysuckle to return in Hatton’s Grace Hurdle | Racing News

first_img“Fairyhouse seems to have a lot of nice mares’ races there and they provide such good ground for their bigger days, so it’s great to be able to run them there. By coincidence as much as anything, she’s done a lot of racing there.”Honeysuckle and Benie Des Dieux fought out a memorable finish to the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and that race, along with the Champion Hurdle, will be on the radar again this season, if all goes to plan.De Bromhead said: “If she’s in the same form as she was last year, we would start in the Hatton’s Grace and probably aim for the Irish Champion Hurdle and then reassess everything after that.- Advertisement – Henry de Bromhead is preparing to take the wraps off stable star Honeysuckle, who will bid to defend her Baroneracing.com Hatton’s Grace Hurdle crown at Fairyhouse later this month.The six-year-old is unbeaten in eight starts for De Bromhead so far – counting this race, the Irish Champion Hurdle and the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on her tally last term.- Advertisement – “I imagine if everything has gone well, she will get an entry for the Champion Hurdle and the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and we’ll see nearer the time what we decide to do.”Honeysuckle was a point-to-point winner before joining De Bromhead and when asked if the mare could possibly embark on a chasing career in the future, he added: “I would say so.“She’s achieving so much over hurdles, but in fairness to her, some days she loose schools over a fence so she’s keeping her eye in with it and, touch wood, she seems very good with it. We’ll see, but that could happen.”The Hatton’s Grace is one of three Grade Ones at Fairyhouse’s Winter Festival, along with the Drinmore Novices’ Chase and the Royal Bond Novices’ Hurdle, all of which are backed by Bar One Racing.De Bromhead has two possibles for the later event, with Sunday’s Navan Grade Three runner-up Annexation in the mix along with Irascible, won made a winning debut for the yard at Clonmel last month.The trainer said: “Annexation ran really well (at Navan), he’s a lovely horse – he wears his heart on his sleeve. He was probably a bit keen there. They didn’t go much of a gallop, then Rachael (Blackmore) thought she was struggling, but then she thought she got there too soon.“He has loads of class, he’s won on quick ground, soft ground, he jumps, he won over a seven furlongs on the Flat – he’s just a lovely horse to have.“He’s entered and we also have Irascible, who won his maiden hurdle first time out for us the other day. They’re both entered and we’ll see nearer the time what we do.”The Winter Festival kicks off on November 28, and De Bromhead could be represented in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Hurdle, a race that was initially due to be run as a Grade One at Fairyhouse’s Easter meeting before the Covid-19 shutdown.De Bromhead won the equivalent event with Honeysuckle in 2019 and Minella Melody, who returned with second place in a Galway Grade Three last month, is in line to challenge.He added: “It’s a little disappointing it’s not a Grade One. The mares of that generation, I’m not sure they got a crack at any Grade One throughout the year. The mares’ novice in Cheltenham is a Grade Two, so it’s a little bit disappointing, but I’m sure there’s a very good reason.“It’s fantastic they’ve salvaged it as a Grade Two though.“Minella Melody will have a go at that. She had a good year last year, (but) she was a bit disappointing in Cheltenham (18th in Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle). She’s quite a stuffy mare, so we said we would give her a run at Galway the other day and hopefully that will have her spot on for the race.” Those three Grade One triumphs took Honeysuckle’s top-level career victories to four and the daughter of Sulamani will be seeking a sixth Fairyhouse win when she contests the November 29 highlight.De Bromhead said: “She’s brilliant and we’re very lucky to have her. It was a great performance that day (last year). She seems in good form so hopefully she can have another good go at it this time.“The first day (she ran) she was good, but she’s just progressed and progressed. She’s not a mare that would take a huge amount of work, so you wouldn’t be working her a lot at home.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Boring battle at the bottom

first_imgExactly one month after his first full England call-up Saido Berahino found himself relegated to a bit-part role as West Brom’s sluggish run of form continued in a tepid 0-0 draw against Hull at the KC Stadium. A ninth minute penalty miss from Graham Dorrans summed up another frustrating afternoon for the Baggies which Berahino – introduced for the final 18 minutes in place of Victor Anichebe – failed to salvage. If the result will do little to ease the pressure on their under-fire boss Alan Irvine, neither will it work wonders for Hull, who slid into the relegation zone after this stalemate which extended their own winless run to eight games. Stephen Quinn came closest for the Tigers when his flicked header from a Jake Livermore cross almost caught out visiting keeper Ben Foster in the 59th minute, but the sense of frustration soon returned. If a classic was never on the cards supporters of both sides at the KC Stadium might have expected more from a dismal first period in which the only shot on target from either side was Dorrans’ ninth minute penalty miss. The visitors had already been denied a third minute shout after Victor Anichebe fell under the challenge of Michael Dawson in the box, but referee Michael Oliver showed no hesitation shortly afterwards when the same player was pulled back by Livermore. Dorrans’ penalty was placed well enough but Hull keeper Allan McGregor guessed right to dive to his left and paw the ball clear to the delight of the Tigers fans behind his goal. Given the Baggies’ recent travails Bruce’s men could have been forgiven for ringing this date on the calendar as a golden opportunity to get their season back on track with three points. Not only had they emerged from their midweek trip to Everton with a creditable draw, but they had striker Abel Hernandez back to lead their front-line after missing the previous two games on paternity leave. But the sum total of their lightweight first half assault was a half-chance in the 22nd minute when David Meyler shrugged off the sleeping Sebastien Pocognoli and struck a shot towards goal which was blocked by Gareth McAuley in the box. Hull showed some signs of stirring after the break with Sone Aluko, given a rare start after coming off the bench to score his side’s equaliser at Goodison Park, scuffing a deflected shot wide before the hosts almost snatched the lead just before the hour mark. Livermore made ground down the right flank before crossing for Quinn whose flicked header from distance almost caught out Baggies keeper Foster, who had to drop low to his left to palm the ball out for a corner. Livermore caused problems again two minutes later when a spell of home pressure ended in the former Tottenham man tugging a low shot straight at Foster from 18 yards. The Baggies’ best chance came in the 72nd minute when Craig Gardner was fouled by Tom Huddlestone and from the resulting free-kick Gardner drew a rare save out of McGregor. Irvine had seen enough, immediately introducing Berahino, to the obvious pleasure of the visiting Baggies fans. But as with so many of Berahino’s recent performances since his call-up by Roy Hodgson for last month’s double-header against Slovenia and Scotland, he seemed curiously off the pace and never threatened McGregor in the home goal. Hernandez came close with a late header for Hull and Baggies sub Brown Ideye drew a save from McGregor, but the final whistle was greeted by predictable boos from fans of both sides. Press Associationlast_img read more

South Korean footballers return to heroes’ welcome with Asiad gold

first_imgIncheon: South Korea’s under-23 national football team players returned to a heroes’ welcome on Monday after winning the gold medal at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.The 20-player team, led by head coach Kim Hak-bum, received a warm welcome from hundreds of fans at Incheon International Airport. The players and coaching staff took a group photo with their gold medals before they disbanded, reports Yonhap news agency.South Korea defeated Japan 2-1 in extra time to claim their Asiad men’s football title. Lee Seung-woo and Hwang Hee-chan scored a goal apiece at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, south of Jakarta.”We earned a good result because of our players’ hard-working effort,” Kim said. “We want to thank our football fans for supporting us.”Three wild-card members — Son Heung-min, Hwang Ui-jo and Jo Hyeon-woo — were pivotal for South Korea’s gold medal run. Son was the captain of the team, while Hwang finished the Asian Games as the top scorer with nine goals. Jo conceded only two goals in the five matches he played.”The three players did more than what they were supposed to do,” Kim said. “They really lead their young teammates well.”With the gold medal, the 20 players are now exempt from their compulsory military service that is about two years long. They can now take a basic four-week training program for the service.Among the Asian Games members, eight players will have to continue their international duty as they also received a call-up from the senior national team. IANSlast_img read more