Having his first run since falling at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day, Colm’s Dream, ridden by 5lb. claimer Donagh Meyler swept past front-running The Mooch on the approach to the final fence and stayed on dourly to triumph by six and a half lengths.
“He improved so much leading up to Christmas that I though he was a certainty going to Musselburgh, but things didn’t work out for him, “ explained a delighted Thornton, about to head for the ferry to Ayr where he runs Art Lord today. “But jumping is his biggest asset and he’s better in a better race with a low weight.”
“I entered him for the 0-140 on the Tuesday of Cheltenham, but he’d have too much weight. I’d say we’ll wait for Fairyhouse and Punchestown.”
The most spectacular performance of the day was provided by the Henry de Bromhead-trained Alisier D’Irlande which made all, jumping with great enthusiasm, to justify 4/7 favouritism in the Irish Stallion Farms Novice Chase,
Ridden by Andrew Lynch, he was taken on for the early lead by Yaha Fizz but asserted early in the back straight and, although chased by I’m All You Need in the straight, won comfortably by nine lengths.
The runner-up was subsequently disqualified as her rider Jack Kennedy weighed in light and trainer Paul Nolan admitted inadvertently putting the wrong lead-cloths on his two runners in the race.
The winning trainer stated: “That was brilliant. I was hoping he’d improve for the better ground and his jumping certainly did. He was good and the other horse taking him on helped – he should learn from it.
“He’s just very exciting and has how own way of doing things. I think he’s entitled to have a go at the Grade 1 in Aintree now – Sizing Granite won this race and went on to win it last year.”
Willie Mullins introduced a potentially smart recruit when Great Filed, in the colours of J P McManus, bolted-up in the Foxrock Cup Hurdle, beating his owner’s other runner Draco readily by four and a half lengths.
Keen over the first few flights, five-year-old Great Field, a winner twice in France as a juvenile, was allowed jump into the lead at the fourth by Barry Geraghty and, jumping particularly well, was never subsequently threatened.
Mullins admitted: “He looked like a nice recruit. He had a setback or two and we couldn’t get him out before now. He’s in the handicaps in Cheltenham and we’ll see what he gets into. He was very keen today, but they’ll go a lot faster over there. He’s a fine big, strong horse, really a chaser and looks a horse for the future.”
Long odds-on favourite Aspen Colorado, successful on his debut over course and distance last month and one of the market-leaders for the Cheltenham bumper, was made work for his follow-up victory in the four-year-old bumper, responding to Sarah O’Brien’s driving to hold debutant Brelade by a half-length.
The winner is owned by J P McManus and trained by Aidan O’Brien, whose son Joseph commented: “He won nicely and idled a bit in front. It was nice to get it out of the way. J P and Frank (Berry) will decide next week whether he’ll go to Cheltenham.
“He’ll certainly be entered and I’d be happy to go there, or wait for something else.”