Good morning all,
Both Wetherby and Fakenham must pass morning inspections. However, the best of today’s action by far is across the Irish Sea.
Inside today’s main piece I preview today’s big race the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park. Plus, I take a brief look at the main contenders for Saturday’s Sky Bet Chase.
The going at Gowran Park is currently being described as heavy so stamina is going to be the key to success today.
Before looking at the Thyestes here's my idea of the winner of the Galmoy Hurdle.
2:20 – John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle (Grade 2) – 3m
It’s not the strongest of renewals of the Galmoy Hurdle. Great White Shark won a valuable 2m 7f handicap hurdle at the Galway Festival and then went onto win Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket. Very effective on soft ground but winter heavy does ask a different question of the mare. The one to beat and if you fancy her in this race you might well consider having a bit on her for the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham, for which she's a best priced 25/1 with William Hill & Bet365.
3:25 – Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase (Grade A) – 3m 1f
Willie Mullins has saddled five winners of this race since 2012, including the last two. He’s got five of the eighteen runners this year, including a couple at the top of the end of betting. There should be an even gallop but I don't think you'll want to find your selection too far out of its ground.
Acapella Bourgeois was predictably no match for stablemate Al Boum Photo on his seasonal return on his return to action 27-days ago. Last year’s Grade 3 Bobbyjo winner didn’t jump well enough when only 6th in this race 12 months ago but heavy ground and a good test of stamina is exactly what he wants.
Brahma Bull unseated his rider at the second in the Tramore race won by Al Boum Photo. Prior to that he had finished runner-up to Minella Indo and won three of his first five starts over fences last season. Shapes like he can improve over staying trips although he can make the odd mistake in his races. Could be the best of the Mullins contingent.
Class Conti was runner-up in this race 12 months ago off 2lb lower. That performance came after a poor run in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Leopardstown and he seems to have had the same preparation this year.
Saturnas a Grade 1 winning novice hurdler was only beaten a neck in the 2018 Kerry National at Listowel. He’s probably needed both starts since returning from a mammoth 815-day absence and is interesting at a big price in the first time cheekpieces.
Gordon Elliott won this in 2018 and has couple of leading fancies in Coko Beach and Run Wild Fred.
Coko Beach has been well backed in the past 24 hours. He looks on a handy mark on the form of his close-up second to Pencilfulloflead on his chase debut at Galway. Gets the first-time blinkers on his first start beyond an extended 2m 6 ½ f. Big player if he stays on likely testing ground.
Run Wild Fred is 0-5 over fences but put in a career best on RPR’s when 2nd of 8 over today’s trip at Punchestown last time. Open to more progress now going handicapping. Gives the trainer a strong hand in the race.
One place behind Run Wild Fred at Punchestown was The Big Dog. The 8-year-old won a maiden hurdle on this day 12 months ago. Lacks experience over fences but is on a handy mark if he gets to race (third reserve).
Spyglass Hill has headed the ante post betting for the race. A winner of a beginners’ chase (heavy) here last February. There have been excuses for his two performances in the Galway Plate and Kerry National and he got his confidence back when runner-up here 69-days ago.
Discordantly was a good winner at Galway in October and 4th of 22 in the Troytown Handicap Chase. Not so good in the Paddy Power last time but he’s better than he was able to show at Leopardstown. A good jumper when at his best and should give it a good go.
Doncaster – Saturday 30th January
The going is currently good to soft, soft in places for Saturday’s Sky Bet Chase Day at Doncaster. If the ante post market leaders stand their ground then we have the makings of a cracker of a race. Here are the leading fancies in the betting.
3:15 – Sky Bet Handicap Chase (Listed Race) – 3m
Cap Du Nord (3/1) runner-up to Royale Pagaille, on just his second start at 3m and heads the market. Prior to that he had beaten Canelo at Newbury.
Canelo (5/1) boosted the form of Cap Du Nord’s Newbury win when winning the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby. Like the favourite he’s progressive and trainer Alan King won this race in 2016 and 2017.
One For The Team (7/1) would be one of the least experienced in the field, having just had the three starts over fences. He ran Next Destination to 1 ¼ lengths in a Grade 2 at Newbury on his second start over the larger obstacles . Only 5th of 7 in a Grade 1 at Kempton on Boxing Day last time but will appreciate Doncaster’s more galloping track. Looks on a handy mark for his handicap chase debut.
Aye Right (10/1) finished third in the Charlie Hall Chase and runner-up in the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury. Had a recent spin in a “jumpers” bumper at Newcastle and so should be spot on fitness wise for this.
Musical Slave (10/1) seemed to show a liking for 3m and heavy ground when finishing runner-up to Sams Adventure at Uttoxeter in March. Jumping was rusty on this seasonal return at Newbury on his seasonal so did well to finish as close as he did when 5th of 10 on good ground.
Of the rest
Sojourn (14/1) beat a subsequent winner at Carlisle, on his first start 330-days in November and he maintained his improvement when finishing runner-up to Sams Adventure at Haydock last month. Best form has come on heavy. The more the rain the better for the 8-year-old.
Boldmere (16/1) looked good when winning over C&D handicap in December 2019 and also seemed set for success in the Grade 2 Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby. Not at the level of that form this season and disappointed when beaten favourite (2/1) here last month. Big chance if bouncing back to form.
Give Me A Copper (14/1) finished two places in front of Boldmere last time. Has tended to be at his best when fresh and probably won’t want the ground too soft either.
The Butcher Said (16/1) was fancied for the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on his handicap debut over fences. Held up at the rear. He was starting to make some headway when making a mistake five out and that ended any chance he had. Trainer Ollle Murphy’s horses are going better now. Decent chance on ratings but may not want the ground too soft.
If you want my Cheltenham Trial's Day and Sky Bet Chase selections. You can get them here.
3:25 – Brahma Bull – 8/1 @ Ladbrokes