'Colreevy will love the trip and ground, but had a very hard race at Limerick'

1.30 Thurles 
Coolmore N.H. Sires Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase | 2m4f48y | Grade 2 | 5yo+ | RTV

The last three favourites have obliged, four of the last six winners have been trained by Willie Mullins and Colreevy comes into the contest after winning a Grade 1 against the geldings. It all sounds so straightforward, doesn't it?

The concern about Colreevy is that the Matchbook Betting Exchange Faugheen Novice Chase was only 29 days ago and she emptied the tank there, recovering from a terrible mistake at the second-last to see off Pencilfulloflead by half-a-length. She was very brave.

That is without doubt the best piece of form on offer and you would be fairly sure that a repeat performance from Colreevy would suffice. She is as short as 7-2 for the new Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase at Cheltenham and anything other than victory would be disappointing.

The main danger to Colreevy appears to be Mount Ida, to whom she must concede 4lb. She was much too good for Scarlet And Dove, another of today's rivals, in a Grade 3 novice chase at Cork on her most recent outing in December and it worth noting she was only rated 1lb inferior to Colreevy over hurdles.

Scarlet And Dove has three and a half lengths to make up on Mount Ida from their Cork clash, but she has since turned a beginners' chase at Limerick into a procession and appears to be improving fast. 

Western Victory has no shortage of chasing experience after six starts over fences. She has won two of those, but will need to improve on her latest effort behind Shattered Love at Clonmel in November to feature here, albeit that was against older mares.

Yukon Lil is the other one to consider. The apparent second string from the Mullins stable appeared to find this this trip too taxing at Navan in December, so once again that would be the worry.

The race revolves around Colreevy and if she shows up in the same sort of form as she was in at Limerick over Christmas, a third victory on the trot looks in store.

What they say

Willie Mullins, trainer of Colreevy and Yukon Lil
Colreevy will love the trip and ground, but had a very hard race at Limerick over Christmas. She might have been fortunate to win that day but she did it the hard way, coming back from a bad mistake. The ground and trip are ideal but I’m taking a chance running her back because it is quite quick. That said it's a mares' race, so a good fit, and she appears to have recovered at home. We won’t know for sure until the race though. Yukon Lil runs in the sponsors’ [Coolmore] colours and we might change tactics with her too. She got beaten at Navan over this trip and I’m a little worried about the distance, but she’s going to take her chance.

Gordon Elliott, trainer of Mount Ida
She won a black-type race last time at Cork, but this is a big step up for her. Hopefully, she will run her race and nick a bit more black type.

Joseph O'Brien, trainer of Scarlet And Dove
She's come out of her win at Christmas well. This has been the plan since then. Obviously, we're going there in search of some further black type and hopefully she can run a good race. She should enjoy the ground.