Ruby Walsh back in action on Lareena as Irish racing resumes
It's a case of 'welcome back Ruby and nice to see you racing' in Ireland on Thursday, which has been starved of action since the Beast from the East and Storm Emma wrought their devastation.
Thurles stages the first meeting in Ireland since February 25, during which time five fixtures – including on the all-weather surface at Dundalk – have been cancelled, even Thursday's other scheduled card, a rearranged fixture at Navan, was a victim of waterlogging.
Their loss is most definitely Thurles' gain as the track has the stage to itself, and taking the leading man role is Ruby Walsh, returning to action after four months on the sidelines with a fractured right tibia.
The 12-time Irish champion jockey, who picked up his injury when Let's Dance fell in a hurdle race at Punchestown last November, rides Lareena for Willie Mullins in the 2m maiden hurdle (3.15).
Discussing his number one jockey's prospects of making a successful return in the 18-runner event, Mullins said: "Lareena is in good form and her last two runs were good.
"She's been working well and we think she's improved since finishing second at Fairyhouse last time. We're looking forward to a good run, although Pat Fahy's mare [Awayinthewest] looks the one we all have to beat."
Sir Carno seeks hat-trick
The Gordon Elliott-trained Sir Carno is arguably the most interesting four-legged performer on the card and will be bidding for a hat-trick in the 2m7f handicap hurdle (4.55), in which he faces nine rivals.
After landing a 2m4f maiden hurdle at Punchestown in January, Sir Carno was a 14-length winner over the course and distance on his most recent start two weeks ago. Jack Kennedy's mount has gone up 12lb for that victory.
Elliott said of the Gigginstown House Stud-owned five-year-old: "He's in good form and improved a good bit last time. He's gone up a lot in the weights since his last win and will need to improve again.
"I was worried he might not get the trip last time but I was very wrong about that as he stayed the trip very well and won easily."
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