Thursday’s race of the day – Preview and tips of Thyestes Handicap at Gowran Park

Jon Vine takes a look through each runner in Thursday’s Thyestes Handicap and provides readers with his tips in Thursday’s race of the day on Thursday 23rd January.

Thursday’s Race Of The Day

Acapella Bourgeois

Achieved mixed results since joining Willie Mullins. Ran in the Martin Pipe last season, before beating Yorkhill at Clonmel two weeks later. Finished 10th in a handicap hurdle on reappearance, but ran really well behind Al Boum Photo on New Years Day. Big claims, even under top-weight.

Borice

Bolted up under a weather weight to win the Galway Plate, on the back of two novice hurdle wins in England. Then beaten 23-lengths in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. Remains on a workable mark and goes well fresh. Best results in Britain have come on good ground though.

Chef Des Obeaux

Joined Willie Mullins from Nicky Henderson in the off-season. Well-beaten fourth on stable debut in the Drinmore. Much more competitive last time out, carrying 11-9 to fifth behind Roaring Bull in strong handicap at Leopardstown. Enough class to cope with big weight and will love both ground and trip. The one to beat.

Chef Des Obeaux running in the 2018 Albert Bartlett.

Choungaya

Ran well behind Tornado Flyer on chase debut over 19-furlongs. Comfortably beaten behind Salsaretta and Easy Game in two starts since. Yet to prove he really stays three miles and jumping was poor last start.

Class Conti

Beaten favourite in Guinness Handicap at Punchestown and ran poorly on both starts this term. Not Willie Mullins’ best chance.

Dounikos

Proved himself a strong stayer with victory in Grand National Trial at Punchestwon last February. Pulled up in Aintree and Irish Nationals. Beaten 20-lengths in Irish Daily Star on only start this term. Hard to make a case.

Ex Patriot

Ran well to place in two Graded races earlier in the season. Placed to mount a challenge approaching the last at Cheltenham, but poor jump ruined his chances. My ante-post fancy for the Brown Advisory Plate at the Festival, but I can’t see him winning a hard-slog of a race like this.

General Principle

Win the Irish Grand National in 2018. Hasn’t won since, only placing once in that time. Failed to finish last five starts. Shouldn’t feature here.

Livelovelaugh

Very competitive in races over two-and-a-half-miles. Poor record in staying races. Finished 11th in last year’s Grand National. Well-beaten on reappearance at Leopardstown. Not on my mind.

Lord Schnitzel

Placed behind Faugheen and Carefully Selected on first two starts over fences. Beaten 40-lengths on two most recent runs. Could struggle in with open company.

Monbeg Notorious bolting up in the Thyestes two years ago.

Mick The Jiver (First Reserve)

Claim surprise victory in three-mile handicap at Navan before Christmas. Beaten out of sight in seven of eight starts before that. Ten-year-old running off a career-high mark. Not for me.

Minella Fair

Bolted up on bottomless ground at Limerick on reappearance. Uncompetitive in two Graded races after that. Pulled up in Roaring Bull race at Leopardstown. Has some class, but needs a bog to be at his best.

Monbeg Notorious

Hacked up in this race in 2018. Proved it was no fluke with Grade Two win on next start. Even placed in Grade One at Punchestown that season. Hasn’t got within 20-lengths of the winner in any of his last seven starts last eight months. Could be well-handicapped, but brings no form to the table.

Moyhenna

Won Grade Two for mares by 25-lengths back in March. Yet to win in four starts in mixed-sex company though, and suffered heavy fall on most recent run at Limerick over Christmas. Not convinced.

Noble Endeavour

Has dropped 12-pounds in the handicap since returning from 600-day absence last winter. Really struggled on all his starts since then, over both fences and hurdles. Best days seem to be behind him.

Out Sam (Second Reserve)

Capable staying handicapper on his day. Last seen finishing distant third in Cross-Country at Cheltenham’s International Meeting. Just two pounds higher than last winning mark, but that came in November 2018. Another who could be past his best at this level.

Pont Aven

Disappointing on three starts this term. Looks in the grip of the handicapper. Clearly prefers better ground than this. No real chance.

Roaring Bull beating Fitzhenry and Chef Des Obeaux at Leopardstown.

Roaring Bull

Returned to top form at Leopardstown, powering home to beat Fitzhenry in Paddy Power Handicap Chase. Suited to staying trips and has class to go with staying ability. Career-high mark of 142 is a worry though.

Smoking Gun

Well-beaten on first start over fences at Fairyhouse. Third over two-and-a-half at Navan. Improved with step up to three-miles, beating stablemate Early Doors at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve. Could mount a challenge under 10-5. Best each-way alternative.

Solomn Grundy (Third Reserve)

Has threatened to land a big one since joining Henry De Bromhead. Recent performances suggest he’s not particularly well-handicapped though. Doubt he’ll feature.

Total Recall

Former Ladbrokes Trophy winner, who’s struggled since a fall in the 2018 Gold Cup. Pulled up in Irish National. Barely featured in two races out in Auteuil. Struggled on only start of new season over hurdles. Holds little appeal.

Verdict

I’m not one to side with market leaders in big handicaps. However, with little appealing behind him, I really feel CHEF DES OBEAUX (6/1 Paddy Power) is a good-thing in Thursday’s race of the day.

Willie Mullins has won three of the previous six runnings of this race, all with classy horses carrying 11-6 or more. While with Nicky Henderson, Chef Des Obeaux proved he was a chaser of Graded quality and I thought he ran a cracker at Leopardstown over Christmas, staying on to place fifth when giving the four horses ahead of him a significant amount of weight.

Soft ground is ideal, staying the trip will be no bother mand Chef Des Obeaux boasts winning form on a right-handed track from his time in England. I’ll be having a big punt on Chef Des Obeaux at 6/1.

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