Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thyestes day preview

It is a sign of the times when the premier days racing of the year in Gowran offers €10 entry to OAP's/Students and for the first time, the Unemployed. Recessionary times are not being kind to Horse Racing Ireland, prize money is now at €47m which is 2002 levels, this represents a 12% pay cut of sorts to the pot, there has been an 11% decrease in attendances at race meets and the satchels of on-course bookmakers are lighter to the tune of 27%. Even the Tote, refuge of many casual and smaller stake punters is down 13%. The most dramatic figure however is also the largest, this is a 28% reduction in the number of new owners.

It is doubtful however that the attendance will be affected in Gowran today, on Thyestes day the figures are always strong and todays card is as strong as there has been for many years. It is currently raining in Gowran and the ground is heavy and tacky, not ideal for racing. The race preview below however will attempt to flesh out the action in each of the seven races scheduled for the Kilkenny track.

1.05 : Ballyhane Stud 4yo Maiden Hurdle (€11,500)
Secant Star, a French bred four year old will be a warm order to take the opener, he was a certain winner last time out in Leopardstown, where he was a last hurdle faller, well in control with the race wrapped up, a clear round today will see Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins and he wil have improved for the run. The Micheal O' Leary owned Point of Light is an interesting recruit but has never ran on Heavy ground before and may be vulnerable today.

1.35 : Alo Duffin Memorial Galmoy Hurdle (€46,500)
Just four runners take the field for this Grade 2 hurdle over 3 miles. Former Gold Cup hero War of Attrition is 11 now and it is interesting to see him stick to hurdles. He is a quoted price of 6-1 for the race however and it looks a straight match between Oscar Dan Dan and Powerstation. Tony McCoy rides Powerstation today in place of the injured Andrew McNamara, he had 7lbs in hand that day and today, while he has 2lbs he should stll be capable of beating Oscar Dan Dan. The two are very close in ratings and even more so in the betting however and this is not a race to get heavily involved in.

2.05 : Kilkenny Handicap Hurdle (81-130) (€15,000)
An open 2m 1f handicap hurdle featuring the useful Marlay Park, Take it Easee and Fistoulig. Take it Easee, with Paddy Flood on board is an improving horse who quickened well last time out and may well win today. Marlay Park runs consistently well and could speak a place while the French-bred Fistoulig won in Navan last time out in heavy going and will run a strong race today under David Casey. Preference is slightly for Fistoulig who is well weighted and value at the 7-1 mark.
2.35 : Tendrleen Thyestes Handicap Chase (€90,000)
The showcase of the year at the Kilkenny track, the 3 mile Thyestes has in recent years had two grand national winners (Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde) compete in what is as usual, an ultra-competitive affair. In Greek mythology, Thyestes was the son of Pelops, King of Olympia. he was exiled for murdering his half-brother and he is the subject of a 2000 year old tragedy by Seneca. Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus also derives some of its plot from the myth of Thyestes. On the heavy ground today, sponsored for the first time by local horse feed sponsor, Connollys of Goresbridge attracts the maximum field of 18 runners. Ruby Walsh has never won the Thyestes and today he saddles the favourite Beroni who is looking for his 4th win in a row over fences this season. He is raised significantly in the weights however and Footy Facts who won very convincingly and his jockey claims a valuable 3lbs today. Siegemaster represents solid each-way claims whereas last years winner, Priests Leap looks to have too much weight, (11-10 today, 10-13 in 2009). Whatever the outcome, it will be a hotly contested race and one that should go the way of the punters.

3.05 : Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F Novice Chase (€23,000)
Champion jockey Tony McCoy will prove a very popular man in a wet Gowran today should he win this 2m 4f novice chase on the very useful Jered. McCoys mount is vying for favouritism with Paul Nolans Sam Adams. Jereds jumping was very fractured earlier in the season but following solid jumping efforts behind Paodorama in the Grade 1 Drinmore, today represents a drop in class and good opportunity to win his second Chase of the campaign. Sam Adams was 16 lengths behind Zaarito in Leopardstown three weeks ago and was a head second to the useful Lenabane (who in turn was 4 lengths behind Pandorama and Weapons Amnesty in the Christmas meet at Leopardstown). While Sam Adams is sure to win some good races, he might well have to give way to the Champion today on the JP McManus owned and Noel Meade trained son of Presenting.

3.35 : Careys Cottage Cup Handicap Chase (0-116) (€10,500)
A field of 8 line up for this ordinary looking 2m 4f chase, the current market leaders Whosaidso, Borolee and Wright Flyer all have solid claims at this level. Denis Cullen trains Whosaidso and trys an extra 4 furlongs today following his defeat at the hands of The Dew At Night in Punchestown last time out, he looks one paced but the extra half mile may suit. Wright Flyer travels well when fresh and the combination of O'Grady and Geraghty can never be ignored at this meeting. Borolee jumped poorly last time out when beaten into third at evens but he can improve and carries a featherweight today. All three have chances to it may pay to follow the market.
4.05 : Duninga Gallops Flat Race (€11,500)
Paul Kristian should reward Willie Mullins another bumper victory at his local track. Starting at 8-15 and obliging by an easy 3 lengths in his last bumper start, this 7 year old is the oldest horse in the race and has the beatings of Tony Mullins runner, Some Slam. The latter did win a bumper very easily by 8 lengths last September but was well held (distance) behind the Willie Mullins trained Don't Turn Bach in a bumper in Leopardstown in December. He weakened very quickly that day and although he should be placed today, will have to give way to Paul Kristian who will wrap the day up for favourite backers and Willie Mullins who won this race last year with Cadspeed.

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