/ Racing

Talented Trifolium springs minor surprise in Irish Arkle

Updated: Sunday, 26 Jan 2014 17:26 | Comments

Trifolium is a best-price 10-1 to win the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival after his Leopardstown success
Trifolium is a best-price 10-1 to win the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival after his Leopardstown success

Trifolium justified jockey Bryan Cooper’s decision to partner him as opposed to the well-backed Mozoltov as he landed the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown in emphatic fashion.

As Gigginstown House Stud's new number one jockey, Cooper could have ridden latter, who went off at 7-2, but instead he sided with the Charles Byrnes-trained 7-1 shot Trifolium.

The seven-year-old chased home reopposing 11-8 favourite Defy Logic in the Racing Post Novice Chase over the course and distance last month, but travelled noticeably well on this occasion.

Defy Logic adopted his customary front-running tactics under Tony McCoy, but got in tight to the third fence from the finish and Trifolium quickly found himself in front.

He continued to pour it on from the home turn and stayed on all the way to the line to comfortably take the Grade One prize.

Felix Yonger (5-2) made a couple of jumping errors down the back straight, but finished well to grab the runner-up spot, with stable companion Mozoltov back in third.

Defy Logic was bitterly disappointing back in fifth but was found after the race to have burst a blood vessel.

Byrnes said: "I knew he was in the form of his life coming here. I didn't really expect him to win, but I thought he'd be there or thereabouts.

"We put cheekpieces on him the last day and he was a bit free early on, so we took them off today and it helped him settle.

"His jumping was fantastic and if you look back at the formbook, he had pretty good form in heavy ground over hurdles.

"From day one over fences in Thurles, every day his jumping has been brilliant.

"He was able to settle in behind Defy Logic today and that was the secret.

"I felt he was back in the same form as he was going to Cheltenham two years ago (third in Supreme Novices' Hurdle).

"We had a terrible year with him last year and nothing went right, but all roads lead back to Cheltenham now."

Cooper said: "It was a hard decision (to elect to ride Trifolium), but the bottom line is that I went for experience.

"Mozoltov is a fair horse but he only had one other run over fences."

Of Trifolium, Cooper said: "He's beat them all out there, and is entitled to go for that (Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival) now."

The Willie Mullins-trained Sure Reef (9-4 joint-favourite) came from last to first in the straight to claim the Grade Two Synergy Security Solutions Novice Hurdle and could also be bound for Cheltenham, with Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle a potential aim.

Ruby Walsh also produced brilliant, albeit differing, rides on two Tony Martin-trained winners.

Quickpick Vic (6-1) firstly made every yard of the running in the Leopardstown Sports Lounge Maiden Hurdle, while 9-4 favourite Wrong Turn needed every ounce of Walsh's strength to get up by a head in the Leopardstown Racecourse Handicap Chase.

Trainer Arthur Moore and champion jockey Davy Russell combined to take the Sandyford Handicap Chase with 2-1 favourite Treat Yourself, while Dermot Weld's Windsor Park (2-1) ran away with the concluding bumper in the hands of Robbie McNamara.

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