02 December 2023

O’Sullivan now building special Bond with Fascile Mode

02 December 2023

Michael O’Sullivan will have a great chance of back-to-back victories in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle when he partners Fascile Mode for Tom Mullins at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

The young starlet of the weighing room picked up his first Grade One when coolly steering Marine Nationale to win this event 12 months ago, before establishing himself as a leading rider when following up on Barry Connell’s stable star at the Cheltenham Festival.

O’Sullivan successfully linked up with Fascile Mode on the five-year-old’s hurdling bow at Punchestown and the exciting prospect’s experienced handler is delighted to have retained his services as he now steps up in grade.

“All the big yards have their big jockeys and one thing and another, but Michael is a very talented man and a talented jockey,” said Mullins.

“When he has the horse, he will win with it. He was very good on Marine Nationale last year and he’s a really good jockey – we’re very happy to have him.”

That 12-length Punchestown success was a welcome return to form for Fascile Mode, who impressed on his rules debut at Leopardstown last Christmas before failing to land a telling blow in some stiff assignments during the rest of his bumper season.

“We’re happy here and everything has gone very well since he won at Punchestown,” said Mullins.

We got him back at Punchestown and we were thrilled

“He has a season under his belt now and is stronger and has definitely improved as much as I hoped he would. He did it nicely at Punchestown and won well in the end.

“It was great to get back on track you know, he went to Cheltenham (for the Champion Bumper) and he got a kick at the start from another horse and it kind of stopped our season then and there.

“We got him back at Punchestown and we were thrilled and we have been thrilled ever since. We just hope we get a nice clean run on Sunday and see what happens.”

Encanto Bruno made a winning start to life in the care of Gavin Cromwell at Cheltenham in October and will seek to continue his progress, dropping back to the minimum two miles.

“We’re going back to two miles from two-and-a-half-miles at Cheltenham the last day, but he travelled very well at Cheltenham, so hopefully that won’t be a problem to him,” said Cromwell.

“The soft ground is probably as soft as he would want it, but he will hopefully cope with it fine and he seems in good nick.

“He’s like a lot of good horses and he doesn’t really show you much at home, he’s a really likeable, simple and straightforward horse. He clearly produces it on the track and they are the ones that you want.”

Disputing matters at the top of the market is Henry de Bromhead’s An Tobar, who was a taking course-and-distance scorer on debut, while Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins have traded blows in this race in recent history and between them are responsible for five of the eight declared runners.

Cullentra House stable jockey Jack Kennedy links up with Clonmel winner Farren Glory, with Elliott also saddling Gigginstown pair King Of Kingsfield and What’s Up Darling.

Hurricane Fly features among Mullins’ nine Royal Bond heroes and this time the Closutton master relies on the Rich Ricci-owned duo Bialystok and Horantzau D’airy.

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