5.30pm Will miss Annie Power at Cheltenham. With Fakenham frozen off and hard to see a winner at Warwick longer than 3/1, we will cast our net across the Irish Sea at the Thyestes meeting at Gowran Park.
Thursday Lucky 15
Gowran Park 1.50 SHANESHILL 5/2 general
Gowran Park 2.25 WILCO’S MA CHARA 12/1 general
Gowran Park 3.00 PRINCE OF SCARS 7/1 PP 6/1 general
Gowran Park 3.35 GENERAL PRINCIPLE 9/2 general
and here’s why
Gowran Park 1.50 SHANESHILL Had rather hoped to see Vroum Vroum Mag here but it’s still a class field for this Grade 2 C3 Galmoy hurdle. Willie Mullins has two entered in Clondaw Warrior and Shaneshill and Ruby Walsh has sided with the former, part owned by his wife. Going against Ruby is a fairly quick way to the poor house but I think Shaneshill is a Graded horse and Clondaw Warrior is a handicapper albeit a good one! I think Shaneshill’s second to Thistlecrack is the best bit of form on display here. He’ll appreciate the better ground and he needs three miles. Obviously he’ll need to overcome his final flight fall last time not to mention Snow Falcon, the improving De Plotting Shed and the Gigginstown pair of which Milsean appeals. Thought for a long time Milsean would make a top grade 3m hurdler. However at the prices it’s Shaneshill and the ever reliable Paul Townend for me.
Gowran Park 2.25 WILCO’S MA CHARA Donagh Myler gave Heartbreak City an excellent ride in the big handicap hurdle last Sunday, every chance at the last, just not good enough on the day. Riding here in a conditional riders handicap hurdle I think young Mr Meyler can notch up another winner on Wilco’s Ma Chara, a horse on whom he was beaten just a neck off two pounds less three runs back. On this better ground stepping up to 2m 4f should be fine. The favourite is a 4yo for JP McManus carrying no weight with winning heavy ground French form and two runs in Ireland beaten a very long way. Not for me.
Gowran Park 3.00 PRINCE OF SCARS Has he been plotted up for this race, the Thyestes? Rated OR159 over hurdles he runs in this 3m handicap chase off OR140? This will be just his fourth run over fences, second to Road to respect on debut, 3rd to Our Duke and then sixth to the same horse in the Grade 1 Lawlors Hotel novice chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. Smart but not exceptional but he is owned by Gigginstown, trained by Gordon Elliott (he has another six of the eighteen runners!) and ridden by the seemingly unstoppable Jack Kennedy. If the ground was softer he would have been even shorter in the market and is the major concern, an opinion put forward by Eddie O’Leary. This race is usually run in bottomless ground and even Soft may be too quick for many of these! Main danger could be the in-form mare Bonny Kate.
Gowran Park 3.35 GENERAL PRINCIPLE Mall Dini, the Cheltenham Pertemps winner last March, is 15/8 favourite to win over 2m!! He needs another lap! Mullins runs two. Ruby Walsh is on Dicosimo for Rich Ricci and turns up with form figures of FFPU9. Good Luck! The other is Great Field for JP and looks a chaser, despite going off 7/1JF for last season’s County Hurdle. Wouldn’t be surprised if he was being primed for a Punchestown handicap. Which leaves me Gordon Elliotts General Principle. He was just behind Prince of Scars on debut, second to Bellow Mome and then fifth when he didn’t stay, upped in trip. He jumps, two miles is his trip and the man Kennedy rides!
Wednesday Lucky 15
Getting round is an achievement at the moment!
Ludlow 1.45 OXWICH BAY 13/8 general 2nd 15/8F
Annoyingly beaten by the Henderson horse who looked useful in winning by a cosy length.
Ludlow 2.15 AN POC AR BUILE 14/1 general 3rd 16/1
The form will read quite well but don’t look too closely! Nine ran, two pulled up, two fell, two unseated and he was beaten a nose and a very, very long distance!
Ludlow 2.50 SHAMBOUGG 6/1 general Fell 16/1??
Drifted like a barge and fell at the third!
Ludlow 3.25 BIG WINDMILL 6/1 PP 11/2 WH UR 4/1
Guess what? Stumbled and unseated at the third!
Here’s a few horses you may be interested in
Ben Linfoot Weights and Measures “Waiting Patiently’s win was another boost to the form of Venetia Williams’ Burtons Well, who was beaten seven lengths by Jefferson’s charge getting 3lb at Sedgefield in late November. Burtons Well has won subsequently at Uttoxeter off 129, where he beat Pistol Park, giving him 1lb, by a length-and-a-quarter on New Year’s Eve. Pistol Park was second to Ubaltique at Haydock on Saturday and is now up to 132, so the improving Burtons Well could certainly be of interest off 136 in the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday. Williams has an incredible recent record in the Timeform race, even though she hasn’t won it, as in the last five renewals she’s had a placed runner every year, thanks to three seconds and two thirds. The early 8/1 available looks a good price given he’s highly likely to turn up.”
January 25, 2017 by @SportingSermon “So what do we know about Melon? The answer is, not a great deal. A four year old gelding who has run just four times on the flat over in France. This huge frame of a horse seems to really find his stride towards the end of the race, leading us to think he’ll relish the step up in trip tomorrow. Melon is huge and I mean huge, given his size there should be little concern about the transition from the flat to hurdles, and potentially chasing further down the line dependant on his performance this season.”
Joseph O’Brien Irish Independent Johnny Ward 25/01/2017 “Bhutan hadn’t run on the Flat for a long time when he came to me. “He was a good bit behind the others. He’ll be entered in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle. I don’t know if he’ll run. He could have gone for a maiden in Naas as well but it doesn’t really make sense to win a maiden. Run in a Grade One and in a worst-case scenario you’re a novice with a much better programme next season, or you might go in the Fred Winter. The programme doesn’t encourage you to win a maiden hurdle. I doubt Bhutan will go (to Cheltenham) this season; it’d surprise me if he did as it’s a bit late now.”