01 February 2023

Solerina strike has sparked Festival dreams for Diamond team

01 February 2023

Blue Blood Racing Club members are dreaming of Cheltenham Festival glory following Ashroe Diamond’s victory in the Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare has already tasted Graded success in the UK when plundering the mares’ bumper at Aintree last April and had highlighted her hurdling credentials with a pair of respectable performances when third in both Punchestown’s Royal Bond and the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown earlier this season.

Sent off the even-money favourite at Fairyhouse, she proved she is one of the leading lights in the mares’ novice division by quickening up smartly off a sedate pace and galloping on strongly in the hands of Danny Mullins.

“It was a messy type of a race really,” explained James Fenton, club manager for Blue Blood Racing.

“No one seemed to really want to make it, Davy Russell went on and jumped the first hurdle and you could see he took a little look at the big screen and slowed the pace right down again. They all kind of stacked up then and we ran into a bit of trouble and got boxed in.

“She was full of running and we were kind of sweating a bit going down to the last, hoping she would be able to get out and when she did get out, she put her head down and found another gear compared to the rest of them.”

She will now head to Prestbury Park as one of the favourites for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and Fenton is confident Ashroe Diamond has the right credentials to strike again at one of the major UK meetings.

“We were very happy with the performance at Fairyhouse and I would be of the opinion that a faster run race will suit her more,” he continued.

“Left-handed at Cheltenham will also suit her along with a sounder surface. So we look forward to going to Cheltenham now in six weeks.

I always watch them go round the bend to see how long it takes them to pull up and Ashroe Diamond went right through the line

“We’re looking at the Mares’ Novices’ for her at the moment. She might get an entry in the County Hurdle as well, we’re not sure yet – we leave that to Willie.”

He went on: “I always watch them go round the bend to see how long it takes them to pull up and Ashroe Diamond went right through the line. She has that gear which she couldn’t get into with being boxed in, but once she got into that gear, she went on and Danny took a fair while to pull her up – he said she was awesome.

“The excitement is building now and all the members are looking forward to it. Most had booked tickets and accommodation previously, it’s going to be an exciting six weeks and plenty of sleepless nights for me hoping nothing goes wrong.”

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