Thyestes day at Gowran Park gets underway with a 2m handicap hurdle where Paddy is paying 4-places instead of the normal 3-places. Forrard Away heads the weights following a third-place finish at Fairyhouse in December, before fading into sixth spot once the petrol tank emptied after the second last hurdle at Limerick over Christmas. Lost Oscar returns for the first time since last February having missed several engagements for J.P McManus in recent months and any market support should be noted.
The Tony Martin trained Djasek was an eye catcher when storming home for second-place at Fairyhouse earlier this month with Peter Carberry back in the saddle today. CARIDADI looks a solid bet to be among the top four, following two close efforts when third and fourth at Thurles and Fairyhouse. The 10-year-old has only been raised 1lb for his latest run, but Mike O’Connor takes off a valuable 7lb claim to help his cause. It’s an open affair and a contest that has been won 15-times by a horse returning at a starting-price of 8/1 or lower over the past 20-years.
The Galmoy Hurdle looks a fascinating contest with Willie Mullins running a total of four-horses including talented dual-purpose winner GREAT WHITE SHARK. The seven-year-old returns from a break following a successful second-half of 2020 and receives a 7lb mares allowance. She wasn’t beaten far on the flat despite finishing in mid-division behind Princess Zoe at the Galway Festival, before coming out quickly afterwards to win a staying handicap hurdle at the same venue.
She proved here ability of running well fresh after landing the English Cesarewitch at Newmarket in October following a two-month break and shouldn’t have any fitness concerns. Burrows Saint remains over hurdles with the former Irish National winner likely to race handy along with several other rivals. Diol Ker needs to improve on his jumping despite winning at Limerick with cheekpieces applied, while Darasso and Sams Profile are back hurling having been recently contesting chases.
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All eyes will be on Charles Byrnes and Pairc Na Ngael in this handicap hurdle following its defeat at Limerick and the recent Viking Hoard affair which has brought national media attention to the stable. Pairc Na Ngael failed to land a serious gamble when finding Mattie’s Mountain too good over Christmas, with Byrnes quoted afterwards as been stunned by the defeat.
It will be interesting to see if connections gain some compensation here and how the betting market reacts to his chances beforehand. However, I’m taking a punt with Princess Vega despite giving weight away to all rivals for Willie Mullins and Conor McNamara. The daughter of Beat Hollow and Quevega needed the run when producing little on the Flat at Navan in October, after a long break.
She looked a horse to track after her easy victory on debut over hurdles on good ground at Tramore in October 2019, with Mullins saying she’ll improve with age over time. Hopefully she handles the softer conditions better today while representing some value against the favourite. Elsewhere, recent winners, Street Value and Lessofdnegativity along with Cork second Fairyhill Run are also shortlisted.
The Thyestes Chase looks as competitive as ever with Paddy paying 6 places in the feature race which Willie Mullins has won for the last two-years. Acapella Bourgeois finished sixth last year and comes here under Paul Townend having taken the same route by finishing second to Al Boum Photo at Tramore on New Year’s Day.
The same race saw the early exit of stable-mate Brahma Bull who showed some prior consistency over fences with novice wins at Tipperary, Killarney and Cork in 2019. The ten-year-old has a nice profile for the Thyestes and has attracted some support in the market earlier this week. Coko Beach is interesting on his handicap debut with blinkers fitted by Gordon Elliott for the first time.
The Gigginstown runner is rated 136 following runs behind Pencilfulloflead, Envoi Allen and others in novice company since October. Ten Ten is one of three horses for J.P McManus and comes here following his mid-division run in the Paddy Power over Christmas. Smoking Gun is rated 1lb lower from finishing ninth last year and might get a run now wearing cheekpieces for Joseph O’Brien.
Spyglass Hill has a hit and miss profile having won over shorter here in a Beginners Chase last February, before been pulled-up twice afterwards at Galway and Listowel. The Henry de Bromhead trained runner steps back up in trip following his second to Annamix at this track in November. Cabaret Queen is another who can’t be dismissed but in summary, BRAHMA BULL looks a solid each-way pick to give the Closutton team another victory in the big Kilkenny showpiece.
Just one of the nine declared runners has previous form with Da Little Grey Lad finishing down the field at Naas earlier this month for Katy Brown. Willie Mullins, Liz Doyle and Gavin Cromwell look to have the leading contenders in this closing bumper, with the Mullins team winning this with Blue Sari in 2019. HARA KIRI sold for €10,000 at the Arqana Autumn sale in November 2019 and runs for the Leinster Partnership under Patrick Mullins.
Liz Doyle is no stranger to finding a good horse with Old Soul coming from a nice family and a half-brother of Le Vent D’Antan. It’s nice to see Derek O’Connor in action with Gavin Cromwell booking him for Perceval Legallois on debut. Ultimately, this comes down to watching the betting market for any major clues with perhaps sticking with Willie Mullins the safest option. The champion trainer is the only handler involved to have trained a bumper winner at this venue in the past five-seasons.
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