This Thursday, there’s just one place to be and that’s at Gowran Park for the annual ‘Thyestes’ meeting. Proceedings commence at 1.05pm and the featured race is of course the Ellen Construction Thyestes Handicap Chase. It could well happen that in-form handler Gordon Elliot will attain his initial success in this €100,000 contest with Hoopy.
A seven-year-old, Hoopy has been in excellent form of late and the Presenting-sired gelding posted an excellent effort on his most recent start when finishing third behind Wheresben in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown on December 27th. Whilst Hoopy was ultimately beaten some nine lengths into third place on that occasion, the more demanding Gowran Park circuit will bring his undoubted stamina into play.
It’s also worth recalling that Hoopy, a confirmed soft ground horse, won his previous two starts before Leopardstown. The likelihood is that the Barry Geraghty-ridden Hoopy will have most to fear here from Tony Martin’s Newbay Prop, a winner over hurdles at Navan before Christmas.
Willie Mullins should continue his terrific season by collecting the afternoon’s main supporting race, the Grade 2 Alo Duffin Memorial Galmoy Hurdle with Shakervilz. A 148-rated hurdler, Shakervilz has won his two most recent starts and on his most recent outing, he led from two out to beat Aitmatov by six lengths in a Grade 2 hurdle over two and a half miles at Navan on December 14th.
Aitmatov, of course gave the form a major boost by winning the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas last Saturday. The step up in trip to three miles will hardly inconvenience Shakervilz and he’s taken to shrug aside the attentions of Alpha Ridge.
Mullins will surely complete a double courtesy of Cranky Corner in the Thomastown INH Flat Race. Cranky Corner, a son of Kilbarry Lodge Stud stallion Classic Cliche, earned rave reviews by sluicing home with Patrick Mullins in a Fairyhouse bumper on New Year’s Day. The form of that race has similarly worked out in the interim as the fourth-placed horse Marlay Park annihilated the opposition in a Thurles bumper on January 13th. The likelihood is that John Kiely’s Carrigmoorna Storm will be the on most likely to chase home the Trevor Hemmings-owned Cranky Corner.
Alexander Severus, trained by Edward O’Grady, should built on his excellent third-placed effort at Leopardstown on December 27th by beating Apt Son in the Ballyhane Stud Maiden Hurdle whilst Farringdon and Savitha are a likely pair in the Kilkenny Handicap Hurdle.
Colm Murphy’s Sher Why Not could spring a mild surprise by upstaging Golden Silver in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Novice Chase. The Paul Nolan-trained Burren Bob meanwhile should have most to fear from Mr Aussie in the LubriSyn Joint Supplement Handicap Chase.