The Thyestes Chase from Gowran Park on Thursday is one of the most competitive and valuable handicap chases in the Irish racing calendar. This is the local track for champion trainer Willie Mullins and the handler has saddled the winner three times in the last six years.
Polidam is BetVictor’s 5/1 favourite for the 2018 renewal with Gordon Elliot’s Ucello Conti – runner up in the corresponding race 12 months ago – 7/1 and Noel Meade’s A Genie in Abottle 8/1 at BetVictor.
Wetherby must pass an 8am inspection to see if their six-race card can get the green light with the ground described at Noon on Monday as Heavy and soft in places with further showers forecast.
If racing goes ahead, Catamaran Du Seuil (3.30) can take the four-runner two-and-a-half mile handicap chase for Dr Richard Newland and Brian Hughes despite dropping back in trip from three miles. Caraline made all to win over C&D from a 7lbs lower mark last time and the hope is that she can set the race up for the selection.
Wolf Sword disappointed last time but the Sue Smith yard are in good form and top-weight Clan Legend has won two of his last three starts. Only four go to post but a cracking contest and the hope is that Catamaran can sail home in the wet.
Bacchanel (2.20) ran poorly on his reappearance back in October but his subsequent absence from the track would suggest something was amiss with the lightly-raced Philip Hobbs-trained seven-year-old maiden. There is nothing between the selection and Bassarabad on last season’s Warwick running and it should be noted that the latter has had a wind operation since finishing fourth at Ffos Las in November.
At Leicester, Optimus Prime (1.30) must give 10lbs to Rayvin Black who did not look a natural over the larger obstacles when tried at Hereford 12 months ago. The selection is a more than useful novice who has jumped well in both starts so far this season for Dan Skelton and Noel Fehily who rides for owners’ Masterson Holdings.
Spice Girl jumped poorly in a better class event ay Cheltenham last time and she will appreciate dropping down in grade and reverting to a mares’ only event this afternoon. Kaloci finished third in a listed Bumper last time and must go close on her hurdles debut, but Samarayia (2.05) was a good second at Exeter last time and is taken to go one better for Henry Oliver.
Antartica De Thaix (2.40) gives weight to her two rivals in the feature event the listed Mares’ Chase over 2m 7f. The selection is usually a good jumper of a fence and the hope is that her confidence has not been dented after a fall at Wincanton last time.
Lastbutnotleast is a thorough stayer but her fencing left much to be desired when winning at Haydock last time and she will have to brush up her jumping today to trouble the Paul Nicholls-trained runner. Got Away has stamina to prove but she gets 9lbs from the selection and a market move would be worth noting.
Dontmindtheboys ran an extraordinary race in the circumstances when third at Warwick last time, having made a number of significant errors before running on very well in a race, which had its form franked by the winner at Fontwell at the weekend.
Mr Love (3.15) attracted support on his chase debut and travelled well before the lack of a recent run took its toll at Wetherby last month. The selection is 3lbs lower this afternoon, finished runner up in his sole point and must go close. Shockingtimes has form figures of FR but he should have won on his penultimate start and this is a weaker race than when refusing last time.