It’s not often we get a big race in midweek at this stage of the jumps season. So today were in for a bit of treat with the latest renewal of Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park. I preview today’s big race inside the main piece.
Looking Ahead To The Weekend
The eyes of the jump’s world will be on Cheltenham on Saturday for Festival Trials Day. This is last day’s racing at Cheltenham until March.
The Grade 2 Paddy Power Cotswold Chase (2.30) is the most valuable race with £120,000 in guaranteed prize money. There are also two other Grade 2 races on the card, including the Cleeve Hurdle (3.05).
Besides the Sky Bet Chase. The Doncaster card also features two Grade 2 contests, including the Lightning Novices' Chase (1.35) which last season was won by Shishkin on his way to success in the Arkle Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.
The recent dry spell has had an impact on the ground at both tracks. At Cheltenham its good, good to soft in places. Since 2012 there has only one Trial’s Day which has seen going quicker than soft and that was when it was good to soft in 2019.
Meanwhile up at Doncaster it’s also good, good to soft in places but they have been watering parts of the South Yorkshire track. ITV are broadcasting four races live from Cheltenham and three from Doncaster.
Besides the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase (3.05). Stayers Hurdle ante post favourite Klassical Dream bid for a six Grade 1 success. in the Grade 2 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle (2.05). Gowran Park aside, there’s also a jumps card at Wetherby and all-weather fixtures Southwell and Newcastle.
3:05 – Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase (Grade A) – 3m 1f
A cracker of a renewal. Gordon Elliot bids for a third success in the race since 2018. The best of his five contenders look to be Braeside, Escaria Ten and Death Duty.
Braeside, won the Cork Grand National on his handicap debut/seasonal return and put in a career best in defeat when a 5 ¾ length 4th of 28 in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown last time. Has a to be a big contender here of just 2lb higher.
Stablemate Death Duty was one place and 1 ½ length behind Braeside in the Paddy Power. That was the 11-year-old’s first start for 13 months. Each way claims but vulnerable to younger legs.
Escaria Ten makes his seasonal return and will enjoy the soft ground. The 8-year-old was a very useful novice chaser last season, putting in arguably a personal best when a 3-length 3rd of 12 Galvin in the National Hunt Chase at last season’s Festival. Competitive mark, if ready to roll won’t be far away.
Longhouse Poet has been the gamble of the race. The 8-year-old shaped with plenty of promise over an inadequate 2m3 ½ f at Limerick over Christmas. He stays 3m 1f and better can be expected and the softer the ground the better.
Eklat De Rire was sent off the 3/1 favourite for the Ladbroke Trophy but ran no sort of race and was beaten when pulling up before the 17th. Remains capable of better than he was able to show at Newbury and the 8-year-old will appreciate the return to softer ground here.
Ex Patriot was a 10-length 4th in this race in 2020. The 9-year-old has only had two starts since that run and is another with each way claims racing in the first time cheekpieces.
Verdict: I’m concentrating on those at the front of of the betting with Braeside and Eklat De Rire high on the shortlist. Longhouse Poet is on a good mark but his price has long gone. Some bookies are going six places and Ex Patriot looks the best of those at big odds.
Selection: Ex Patriot – 25/1 – Each Way
Good luck with your Thursday bets.