For today’s first selection we head to Warwick for a staying chase run over three miles and two furlongs.
The one that catches the eye in this Safran De Cotte, in the hope that he can finally manage to get his head in front again now that he takes a significant drop in class. He has run twelve times over fences and the majority of those runs have come at class one and class two level. The nine year old has only two runs to his name at class four level over fences and managed to win on both occasions. If full ability remains intact and he has not gone sour, he should be capable of having a major say in this race.
Heading the betting is the Nigel Twiston Davies seven year old Bally Braes who is the least exposed runner in the field. This will only be his third chase start and his inexperience could count against him here. In these type of staying chases it is usually the battle hardened veterans who prevail. Saying that, he is unexposed and open to plenty of improvement so if his jumping stands the test he should be involved.
This is a race where it is hard to rule anything out with any degree of confidence but if first time visor works for Time to Think, he could be very well treated on one or two pieces of form.
Safran De Cotte (WIN)
14:15 Gowran Park
For my second selection we head over to Ireland for some Grade 2 action in the Galmoy hurdle.
This race looks to surround the two at the head of the market and I think preference would have to be for the Noel Meade inmate. Monksland spent exactly two years off the track but produced a very eye catching run on his return that would suggest all ability remains. The fact that he receives seven pounds from his main rival in this contest should really be enough to swing this contest in his favour. There is a chance that he could bounce after spending such a length of time off the track, but if he doesn’t he should prove hard to beat.
The biggest danger to the selection is the Willie Mullins trained Briar Hill who also made his seasonal debut in the same race as Monksland. Unlike Monksland, his seasonal return was some what subdued but I think the number one priority was getting a clear round in. He took a very heavy fall in the Albert Bartlett when last season and fractured a cheek bone. This could have left a mental mark on the horse which could take him a while to get over but he should still be capable of running his race here.
Dedigout is another who renews rivalry from Leopardstown and also ran with credit in that race. He could be a tad overpriced in this contest as he does relish these underfoot conditions. The 5lbs that he has to concede to Monsland in this contest could be enough to swing it in the favour of the Meade runnner.
Hard to recommend the other two runners as Zaidpour looks best over shorter while Cause of Causes does not look up to this level.
15:15 Gowran Park
For my final selection we stay in Ireland for their feature contest, the Thyestes Chase run over three miles and one furlong.
At the head of the betting and conceding weight all round is the Willie Mullins trained Djakadam. The 6yo was well fancied for this years Hennessy at Newbury and finished a creditable enough eight. While there is sure to be improvement to come, it is not going to be an easy task conceding plenty of weight to some decent horses. With that in mind, I would be prepared to look towards something with a bit of an each way value.
The one that appeals most here is the Jim Dreaper trained Goonyella who has always looked like there was a decent pot in him. The eight year old has run well in last years Irish National and also ran with credit in the Paddy Power on his last start. While the gelding has a nine length deficit to turn around with The Job is Right on Paddy Power running, he now meets that rival on seven pounds better terms here. That should be enough to at least see them finish closer together and I think this type of track will suit Goonyella too.
This is such a competitive race that a chance can be given to many with The Job is Right and Groody Hill appealing most. One that could run well at a big price is Ipsos Du Berlais who is starting to look on a very competitive mark once more.