Westerner Lady out to continue winning streak under Walsh
Champs Elysees Coolmore National Hunt Sires European Breeders Fund Mares Novice Chase | 2m4f | Grade 2 | ATR
Losing is not something Westerner Lady is used to. She has won nine of her last 11 starts and her sole defeat over fences came at the hands of leading RSA fancy Alpha Des Obeaux.
The prolific seven-year-old won her first three outings over fences by a total of 47 lengths, but she needed to dig deep and display her battling qualities in a Grade 2 at Clonmel in November to fend off Thanks For Tea and Rock On The Moor.
That gutsy triumph earned her a well-deserved break, and she returns from a 63-day absence here.
Westerner Lady's trainer Willie Mullins, who won this in 2014 with Vroum Vroum Mag, also runs Daisy's Gift. She took a crashing fall when last seen over fences at Cork in early December. She does, however, boast a Wexford win over one of these rivals, Keppols Queen.
Point winner Black Franks Angel has only one start over fences to her name, but Henry de Bromhead has opted to step her up in class for this, while there ought be a battle for early supremacy as Not For Burning and Misty Lady both like to get on with it.
Be sceptical of hot favourites
Vroum Vroum Mag justified 1-2 market leadership in this in 2015 but Bitofapuzzle (30-100), Une Artiste (6-5), Tarla (4-9) were all turned over in the last four years.
What they say
Willie Mullins, trainer of Westerner Lady and Daisy's Gift
Westerner Lady is in great order. She's done really well over fences and if she's able to reproduce the form of her win from Clonmel then she should have a good chance. Daisy's Gift fell on her last start over fences and will hopefully have her confidence back after running over hurdles at Leopardstown last time.
Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Black Franks Angel
We're probably punching a bit above our weight by letting her take her chance in this but she jumps well and seems in good form so we said why not let her have a go at it.
Jessica Harrington, trainer of Keppols Queen
That wasn't her at Limerick last time. She came back with an over-reach. She hated jumping out of that bad ground so I hope it's a bit better this time. She schooled last week and jumped like a buck. I'm thrilled that Benie Des Dieux is not against us this time; she could be a bit special. If she bounces back I think she has a great chance.
Denise Foster, trainer of Not For Burning
She's in marvellous form, nice and fresh, and if you're not in, you can't win. We are looking to upgrade her page as she will be off to a stallion later in the year. If she shows what she is capable of she will make them all go a bit.