Couleur can collect

Safest wager at Thurles this afternoon should be Noel Meade’s Couleur France in the Maiden Hurdle.

He has certainly been costly to follow, but arrives off a career-best effort last time and should now be ready to finally strike.

At Fairyhouse last month, Couleur France was beaten a length and three parts into second by Sheamus, a contest that has been working out well.

Sheamus went on to bolt in, back at Fairyhouse on Tuesday, while Mill Forge (third) and Oscar Invitation (fifth) have also won in the meantime.

It will be a pleasant surprise, however, should Meade’s charge not go off at odds-on, so Charles Byrnes’ Once And Always could provide a more lucrative winning nap in the Thurles Beginners Chase.

He was a modest enough performer over flights, but did round off last season with easily his best display when scoring over two miles and five at Limerick.

That came in what should have been a competitive handicap, but Once And Always was impressive, winning by five lengths.

As a Gigginstown horse you’d imagine that chasing was always going to be his game and he does a have a success in the point-to-point fields to his name.

Embracing Change, who stayed on strongly to win by two and a quarter lengths at Clonmel a week ago, is fancied to defy a mandatory 4lbs penalty in the Thurles Handicap Chase. He goes up 7lbs in the future.

There has to be every chance that the Bumper will fall to one of a trio of newcomers, Midsommarkransen (Jim Culloty), Bowenscourt (Mags Mullins) or Loughmore Queen (Henry de Bromhead). The hopeful nod falls on Midsommarkransen, who cost€40,000 as a three-year-old, is by King’s Theatre and will have the assistance of Robbie McNamara


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