Past Winners » Alderwood


There is very little between Alderwood and Trifolium in my book here, certainly less than the market would have you believe, and I am backing Alderwood again at 3/1.

Trifolium is a talented horse, no doubt, but so too is Alderwood, and Tom Mullins’s horse still appears to be under-rated despite having followed up his County Hurdle win with Grade 2 success back in novice company at Fairyhouse over Easter. It was a huge effort to win the County Hurdle on just his second run since September, especially as he got really badly hampered on the crown of the home bend. He did remarkably well to recover so quickly from that to hit the front over the final hurdle and hold off challengers on either side of him up the hill.

The form of the County Hurdle is working out really well already. The second horse Edgardo Sol won the Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree by 14 lengths on his next outing; Raya Star, Local Hero and Clerk’s Choice, all down the field at Cheltenham finished first, second and third in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr on Saturday; Lifestlye, who could finish only 21st in the County, came out and won the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle at Aintree, a race in which Dee Ee Williams, sixth in the County, also ran well; while Dirar has easily landed a conditions hurdle on his only subsequent run.

Alderwood was given a Racing Post Rating of 148 for winning the County Hurdle, and that is actually 1lb higher than the rating Trifolium achieved in finishing third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The price discrepancy between the two horses today seems wrong based on that alone, and, on top of that, Alderwood has already gone on to prove himself in graded novice company. He had the pace to travel strongly in the lead at Fairyhouse before battling on really well to see off Allure Of Illusion when Willie Mullins’s horse came at him up the home straight.

Trifolium did beat Allure Of Illusion by further in the Supreme than Alderwood did at Fairyhouse, but Allure Of Illusion had to come from right out the back at Cheltenham, he had done a lot of running to get into contention around the home turn, and he just couldn’t go on with the front five up the hill. Furthermore, having looked a big danger to Alderwood over the final hurdle at Fairyhouse, Alderwood was ultimately well on top of Allure Of Illusion at the line.

JP McManus’s horse stays well in excess of two miles, so the increased premium that the easy ground today will place on stamina should suit. His trainer has said that he doesn’t envisage today’s conditions being a problem, and it was soft ground when he won at Killarney during the summer. This is his third run in five and a half weeks, but he is a hardy horse, he is eight years old, and having been off the track from September until February, he should have more to give still. Small fields aren’t a problem for him, it is possible that AP McCoy will go out and try to make all again, and he has a better chance of doing so than odds of 3/1 or 11/4 suggest.