Brendan Duke: Top tellybox tips for Thyestes Chase Day on Thursday

It's the race that stops a county.


A rare dip in midweek racing waters. The occasion, of course, is the Thyestes Chase in Gowran Park. The race that stops a county. As with last year, in deference to our Carlow readers, we will go with the race that stops two counties.

Also a race I’ve never backed the winner of. Quite the affront to variance as I would conservatively guesstimate 20 stabs at it. Never been a quitter. We go again. The soft ground will probably stay as it is.


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It looks trappy. I would say that given my record. Racing buddies I’ve talked to about the race are inclined to say the same though. Paddy have recognised the challenge punters face and 6 places is certainly a help in the feature at 15.00.

Also I’m not convinced by the front end of the market. Acapella Bourgeois and Chef Des Obeaux have ideological differences with the phrase ‘jumping is the name of the game’.

Roaring Bull is notoriously inconsistent. Following up his Paddy Power Chase heroics seems unlikely. Livelovelaugh, Moyhenna, Ex Patriot and Dounikos all went under the microscope. All were dismissed for one reason or another. In the end the case for Joseph O’Brien’s Smoking Gun was most obvious.

This seven-year-old is a lightly-raced sort. He has amassed a healthy strike rate in those 12 starts. He looks a dour stayer. His first couple of starts over fences suggested a step up in trip was needed. Sure enough he delivered over an extended three miles in Punchestown last time up. His jumping isn’t always foot perfect. Encouragingly he was much more fluent on the second circuit in Punchestown. He really seemed to be relishing the job down the back straight.


That race saw plenty of his opponents suffer mishaps and fall by the wayside. I’m relatively confident he would have won anyway. If I’m right a mark of 136 is on the lenient side. That was a well contested beginners chase. I’m expecting a solid round of jumping on Thursday. If the Gun does as I expect, then he won’t shy away from the winning line.

The best race on the card in the Grade 2 3m Galmoy Hurdle at 13.50. Apple’s Jade looked impressive in Leopardstown. It was nice to see the Apple stave off retirement, and she was heavily backed. My suspicion though is that with Bacardys throwing in a moody effort, the form probably isn’t worth toffee.

Benie Des Dieux has a formidable record fresh. A formidable record full stop. Some of her stablemates have been needing their comeback run. She was good to go at Christmas. A minor setback ruled her out. I imagine she will be fairly straight and ought to be winning. Even money shots don’t generally rock my boat but if you don’t share my nervous disposition, Benie looks a rock-solid play.

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The best bet of the day comes in the handicap hurdle at 14.25. Henry de Bromhead’s Eleazer Des Neiges (EDN) landed a nice touch in Limerick over Christmas. He was backed from 11/1 to 4/1. He was never headed on the day. The subsequent form of the placed horses has been mixed. The third did win impressively in Punchestown mind.

I get the impression something clicked with this horse in the run up to Limerick. He has plenty of scope to improve after just six career starts. Henry De Bromhead had a number of horses entered for this race. The fact he relies solely on the EDN is encouraging. The horse doesn’t look to face much obvious competition for the lead either. A well-backed, all-the-way winner.

I envisage a repeat of Limerick.

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What do you think?