Laurina aims to bounce back from two disappointing performances when she bids for back-to-back victories in the Quevega (Mares) Hurdle at Punchestown on Wednesday.
The talented seven-year-old has been pulled up in her last two starts over fences, in Grade One company at Leopardstown and Sandown, after starting the campaign in good style with a facile success in a beginners’ chase at Gowran.
Trainer Willie Mullins has decided to put her back over hurdles in an attempt to revive her fortunes, before firming up Cheltenham Festival plans, where she has several options.
“She obviously burst (a blood vessel) at Christmas and didn’t jump particularly fluently in Sandown, so we’re reverting back to hurdles to get her season back on track,” said Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father.
“We’ve been surprised and disappointed with her last two runs. She’s in good form at home, so maybe going back to hurdles will help her.
“We’re just going to see how she gets on and decide then (about Cheltenham plans). We’re just hoping for a better performance than her last two.”
Laurina has four rivals, including Elfile, who is a Listed winner and ran second to Honeysuckle in the Grade One Mares’ Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse last spring.
“She’s a very good filly. If Laurina runs to her best obviously she will be hard to beat, but if Laurina isn’t on her top game I think Elfile is a top-class filly in her own right,” said Mullins.
The Gordon Elliott-trained pair of Surin and Black Tears, plus Jessica Harrington’s Emily Moon, make up the quintet.