Laurina set to sidestep International Hurdle at Cheltenham
Josies Orders bidding for Cheltenham win in Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
Willie Mullins: “In light of the forecast we’ve had to have a serious think about running. It’s looking unlikely she’ll travel.” Photograph: David Davies/PA
One of the potential stars of the two-mile division this season, she carried all before her last term against her own sex. She was a dominant winner at the Cheltenham Festival and then followed up in Grade One company at Fairyhouse over Easter.
Willie Mullins had hoped to start her season off at Ascot last month, but quick ground put paid to that plan. And a lack of rain again means she is still likely to be kept on the sidelines this weekend.
Mullins said: “It’s the ground. Because of what the situation is at Cheltenham [good, good to soft in places] and in light of the forecast we’ve had to have a serious think about running. It’s looking unlikely she’ll travel.”
Meanwhile, Josies Orders is bidding for a fifth Cheltenham win in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase for Enda Bolger on Friday.
The 10-year-old was a game victor at the November meeting from Fact Of The Matter, who takes him on again.
Cross-country king Bolger also run the eight-year-old My Hometown, a winner over the Punchestown banks course last time out, but it is Josies Orders, ridden by Mark Walsh, who is the undoubted first string.
“We know what we’re going to get with Josies, I hope,” said Bolger. “He tends to run his race whatever. With Tiger Roll not running, the weights have gone up and he meets the second horse from the last day on near enough the same terms.
“My Hometown won very well at Punchestown, but this is a different level – he’s in against much better horses like Josies and Bless The Wings.
“I’d also be wary of the French horse [Amazing Comedy] as he’s got some very good form in France and has run well at the Festival before.
“My Hometown would have an outside chance, he’s got a low weight, but he wouldn’t be at the same level as Josies.
“The ground should be fine for them both, Josies bounced off it last time so it won’t be a problem.”
Fact Of The Matter is trained by Jamie Snowden.
“Fact Of The Matter is in good form at home. He ran a great race on his first start over the cross-country fences and was beaten less than a length by Josies Orders in the race and Tiger Roll was back in fourth, so we were delighted with the effort,” said Snowden.
“He had schooled well prior to the race and we were pleased with the way in which he jumped over the fences in November. We are looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully he runs well.”
In the surprise absence of National hero Tiger Roll, Gordon Elliott is represented by Bless The Wings, who was fifth in November, while joining Fact Of The Matter in the British team is Emma Lavelle’s Junction Fourteen.
Willie Mullins runs Ballycasey, a Grade Two winner in his pomp, with Henry de Bromhead’s Full Cry another interesting runner.