Wednesday Jan. 20th 5.15pm
Thyestes Handicap Chase Gowran Park 3.10 Thurs. Jan. 21st
This is a tough 3m1f handicap chase run on winter ground on a searching right hand course and is targeted by the biggest yards with their high rolling owners so not surprisingly of the eighteen declared runners there are five for Gigginstown, four for Gordon Elliott, four for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh is on Ballycasey for the Ricci’s.
Let’s get one thing straight, there is no Djakadam in this field! Think Grand Nationals not Gold Cups!
As always I’m looking for an improver with a racing weight, in form connections who may have had this race in mind for a while and I have a strong fancy in the shape of Gordon Elliotts MALA BEACH.
I would have put him up earlier but I was still a little nervous after the recent Sizing Gold/ De Name Escapes Me experiences and I didn’t think it would be much shorter than 10’s after the final declarations plus I wanted to see big race jockey Davy Russell in the saddle.
Gordon Elliott said in his most recent Boylesports blog “Mala Beach actually won the Galway hurdle a couple of years ago on this very card. He has a bit of class, won a few Graded races, and he could be the dark horse (Gordon’s words not mine!!) in the Thyestes. I was happy with his performance at Ascot, the ground was a bit quick but he galloped the whole way and we were happy with him.”
So he’s won over 3m, goes on the ground, has run in the best company and could easily have the requisite 10lbs in hand racing off just OR142 and I make MALA BEACH a three star*** win selection @ 8/1 with Betfred or William Hill (7/1 general). Paddy Power may go five places in shop tomorrow for you each way thieves.
This race will have plenty of future winners taking part and I will have an eagle eye on SUNTIEP who has sat in my horse tracker for close on two years ever since he flew up the hill at Cheltenham to finish 3rd in the 2014 4mNH Chase. Not Patrick Mullins finest hour! He only had Midnight Prayer and Shotgun Paddy in front of him come the line but overtook the likes of Foxrock, Shutthefrontdoor, Living Next Door etc. sprinting to the line! Love to know what David Mullins pre-race instructions are? Ruby Walsh had this to say on the race on Racing UK,“Ballycasey is also going to run in the Goffs Thyestes Chase, a race in which we have a string hand. I’m on Ballycasey but Danny Mullins is on Boston Bob, David Mullins is on Suntiep and Paul Townend rides Urano. The Thyestes is a stamina-sapping contest in which you have to stay to win, especially on the heavy ground at Gowran at the moment. Ballycasey is working well and has a good record fresh. He has never won over the trip but I think he will stay.”
It may be January but it’s time to be on the “ Beach”!!
BET365 Handicap Chase Ascot 3.35 Sat. Jan. 23rd
I think the improver here may actually be towards the top of the weights in ROYAL REGATTA trained by Saturday king Philip Hobbs. I have always liked this horse who was a classy novice hurdler but has taken time to mature and now I think they have finally worked him out. He needs 2m 4f away from Cheltenham, he needs blinkers to help him concentrate and the recent tongue tie seems to have got rid of the “plugged on” comments.
When he won at Doncaster this time last year Hobbs’ wife, Sarah, said: “He’s a nice horse who is going the right way. What he needs is a strong two miles, he doesn’t get two and a half yet but he will do in time. He’s still big and gangly and is still filling out.” Sporting Life My notes said “Jumped really well and Richard Johnson was able to dictate the race.”
I was heartened to see he has a RyanAir Festival entry which suggests connections think he could still improve and on Saturday with Richard Johnson/Tom O’Brien having him racing prominently if not actually from the front I think he will be hard to beat.
As for the bet he is a two star** win selection @ 5/1 with race sponsors Bet365 if you can get it. If not back him as a two star** selection on Saturday morning at best odds guaranteed.