Trifolium has touch of class to outshine rivals on chase debut
Nearly a year after his alarming capitulation in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, Trifolium returns to make his chasing debut under Bryan Cooper at Thurles today.
Charles Byrnes' 2012 Supreme Novices' Hurdle runner-up hasn't been the most straightforward to train since that day in Cheltenham, and an operation to help his breathing prior to the Newcastle contest clearly didn't have the desired effect. As such, there is a chance that Trifolium will need this run or that he mightn't be the force of old.
The Gigginstown Stud-owned six-year-old is by far the classiest horse on duty in the beginners' chase, so it is worth giving him the benefit of the doubt. With a full field of 16 plus three reserves, the two-and-a-quarter-mile contest sets the tone for a busy spread at the north Tipperary venue, and the subsequent three-mile handicap comprises 18 runners.
It may well prove to be a wide-open affair, but there is a suspicion that JP McManus' One Fine Morning could excel under David Casey. Ronnie O'Leary's seven-year-old was impressive when sluicing up at Limerick last month, and then appeared to be tanking along off a 12lb higher when he took an absolute purler of a fall three-out at Punchestown.
If One Fine Morning is none the worse for that, he will surely have a big say again now off the same mark, although he has yet to fully prove his effectiveness over this three-mile trip.
Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh should add to their irresistible recent form with the hitherto frustrating Urano in the maiden hurdle, while Aerlite Supreme is fancied under Barry Geraghty in the novice. A staying-on second to Alelchi Inois at Fairyhouse, Michael Hourigan's six-year-old will relish this step up to two-and-three-quarter miles.
Lilly Of The Moor, Jessica Harrington's only runner on the card, is the day's nap selection. Robbie Power's mount is another that will appreciate a first try at the same trip in the mares' maiden, having filled the runner-up berth behind Love On Top in similar fashion at Clonmel last time. That was her third placed effort in four starts, so she deserves to land one of these.