Dinaria Des Obeaux faces a formidable challenge from her own yard in the shape of Shattered Love in defence of her title in Clonmel’s T.A. Morris Memorial Irish EBF Mares Chase on Thursday.
Gordon Elliott’s mare was odds-on favourite and had 22 lengths to spare from Miss Eyecatcher, who is back again, on her favoured soft ground in this Listed race 12 months ago.
But with Elliott’s impressive Cheltenham Festival winner Shattered Love heading eight in opposition to her stablemate on Thursday, it is highly unlikely there will be such an easy victor this time.
Youcantcallherthat beat Dinaria Des Obeaux in a Grade Two novice chase for trainer and jockey Denis Hogan at Limerick in March and should strip fitter for a recent run over hurdles.
“She was very good last season, had some really good form, and I hope she can do it again this time round,” he said.
“There’s no doubt she’s plenty good enough.
“She ran well in the hurdle on her first run back, and has come out of it well – but we just need some rain. She’s a National Hunt mare, so she needs soft ground really.
“I wouldn’t run her on anything that was the wrong side of good. I don’t think there’s a lot of rain coming, but any at all would be a help.”
Peter Fahey has no such concerns for his outsider Timeforwest, who has her first run since leaving Jonjo O’Neill.
“I don’t think she’s in any way ground dependent, and I think the track should suit her,” said Fahey.
“We got her from the sales and have not had her long at all.
“But she’s working well at home, and I’d be delighted if she could get a bit of black type.
“It is definitely a very competitive race, but she should run respectably.”
Willie Mullins’ Camelia De Cotte, twice a winner in late summer, is one of four other runners.