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Trifolium can soar to victory for O'Leary in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle

THE very first Grade One of the week at the Punchestown Festival is the Grade One Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle for which an interesting field will go to post.

Among them is the Supreme Novices' Hurdle third Trifolium and the County Hurdle and recent Fairyhouse winner Alderwood, who both look to have solid claims for the two-mile contest.

Hurricane Fly and Brave Inca are two former Champion Hurdle winners that head the elite roll of honour for the race, so many clues into next season may be obtained by tomorrow's winner.

Noel Meade's Dylan Ross is an interesting one at double figures as he could run well and into a place on the best of his Irish form, but in a race that was won by a JP McManus-owned runner last year, this time around it is hard to look beyond a runner belonging to Ireland's other leading owner, Michael O'Leary.

The Ryanair boss will see his maroon and white colours of his Gigginstown House Stud carried by Trifolium and Charles Byrnes' charge should be good enough on the basis of that Cheltenham effort.

The five-year-old, who is a course and distance winner, was staying on gamely at the death in Cheltenham and got within a length and a half of the winner Cinders And Ashes, while only losing out on second place by a neck to subsequent Aintree winner Darlan who helped the form recently.

Proceedings get underway with the Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Ladies Cup which is run over Punchestown's unique banks and cross country course.

The three-mile event is the first of three of these races run throughout the week and, as will be the case for all three, Enda Bolger looks to hold a strong hand.

The Limerick-based trainer is renowned for his success in this sphere and tomorrow it will be ON The Fringe who will be the short-priced favourite. On The Fringe will have to give weight away to all bar one of his rivals if he is to oblige but with some good form in Hunters Chases to his name and this race being a niche for Bolger runners, he is a difficult one to oppose.

Scottish Boogie had no joy when last seen over hurdles in the Boylesports.com at Leopardstown when sent off the 7/1 favourite, but he is worth taking a chance on for tomorrow's Boylesports.com Official Betting Partner Of The Irish Soccer Team Handicap Hurdle.

The lucrative Goffs Land Rover Bumper is a wide open race with little form to go on but there is word for the Sam Curling-trained First To Boogie and market moves on that should be watched closely, while in the concluding Finlay Group Bumper the Jessica Harrington-trained The Big Easy is a confident choice.


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