We take a quick-fire look at the 7-race card, giving you some key stats and trends.
Saturday 21st March 2020
Thurles Horse Racing Tips
1:40 Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle (5yo+) 2m ITV4
- Trainer Joseph O’Brien has a 21% record with his hurdlers at the track – ARTHURAIN FAME
- Trainer Gordon Elliott has an 18% record with his hurdlers at the track – FAKIERA
VERDICT: The Joseph O’Brien runner – Arthurain Fame - will be popular but will need to find the form of his debut hurdles run, when second at Cork back in Nov 2019. He’s since flopped, but the last of those runs came over a longer trip so the return to 2m here looks a plus. However, the call is to stick with the Gordon Elliott runner – FAKIERA – who was only narrowly beaten at Leopardstown earlier this month (2nd). That came in a 20-runner contest so the form looks solid, while it also came over a tad further (2m2f), so that proven stamina over this shorter trip will be a bonus in the later stages of the race. Politesse can give the pick most to think about, while Ruinous, Blanketontheground and Ran Rite are others to note.
2:10 www.thurlesraces.ie Hurdle (5yo+) 2m6½f ITV4
- Trainer Willie Mullins has a 31% record with his hurdlers at the track – KARL DER GROSSE
- Trainer Gordon Elliott has an 18% record with his hurdlers at the track – FEROCIOUS & CARTWRIGHT
- Trainer Denis Hogan is just 3-from-71 with his hurdlers at the track – MOYHENNA
VERDICT: The Jessie Harrington-trained Jetz would have the form to go well here and was a solid runner-up at Leopardstown last time out – but with just 1 win from his last 13 runs he’s not an easy horse to catch right. The powerful Mullins and Elliott yards have three runners between then and are sure to catch punter’s eyes too. Mullins has Karl Der Grosse, who returns from a long lay-off so any market support should be noted. Elliott has Cartwright and Ferocious, but both are heading here off the back off below-par runs last time out so have a bit to prove. So, I’m happy to stick with the only proven CD winner in the field – MARY FRANCES. This 8 year-old mare was a nice 4 ¾ length winner at Punchestown last month and also gets in here receiving the mares’ allowance, which brings her right into play. She’s also got a 7lb claimer riding to further reduce her weight and having won at the track by 25 lengths back in March 18, then we know she handles the course well.
2:40 Horse & Jockey Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 80-95) 2m6½f ITV4
- Trainer Gordon Elliott has an 18% record with his hurdlers at the track – SPORTY YANKEE
- Trainer PJ Rothwell is only 1-from-41 (2%) with his hurdlers at the track – HIDE OUT
VERDICT: Goulane Jessie and Dunhallow Paddy are the only two proven distance winners in the field so have to enter the shortlist. Johnny Little Legs and Need For Gold head here off the back of okay recent runs, while Memory Of Youth is another to note based on her third at Clonmel last month. But the safe call here is to stick with jockey Davy Russell and trainer Gordon Elliott, who team-up with SPORTY YANKEE (e/w). This 7 year-old has been running in the UK of late, both over the sticks and on the flat. This 2m6f trip looks ideal after running second at Fairyhouse and Ayr over similar trips and handles give underfoot well.
3:10 Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase (Grade 3) (5yo+) 2m2f ITV4
- Trainer Willie Mullins has a 38% record with his chasers at the track – CUT THE MUSTARD
- Trainer Gordon Elliott has an 26% record with his chasers at the track – DALLAS DES PICTIONS
- Trainer Jessie Harrington has a 29% record with her chasers at the track – EMILY MOON & SIZING POTTSIE
VERDICT: Capuccimix was a nice winner at Naas last time out and should go well, while Emily Moon was is the only CD winner in the field, having won by 13 lengths here last time out. Mullins, who won this race in 2017, has Cut The Mustard, who is yet to finish out of the top two from his four runs over fences, but she was put in her place last time out by SIZING POTTSIE and might struggle to overturn that form. This Jessie Harrington runner has now won his last two in decent fashion (15 and 12 lengths) and seems the sort to have more to come, despite having to give weight away to all the others. Of the rest, Dallas Des Pictons comes from the Elliott yard that won this in 2019 and Dunvegan can’t be ruled out coming from the Fahy camp that took this prize in 2018. Finally, Zero Ten has some solid form to his name too so has to be on the shortlist, but does need to bounce back from falling last time out.
3:40 Duggan Veterinary Handicap Chase (5yo+) 2m4½f ITV4
- Trainer Ross O’Sullivan has a 25% record with his chasers at the track – WESTERN SEA
- Trainer John Walsh is 0-from-24 with his chasers at the track – SONNY B
VERDICT: With several course winners in the field – Bridge Native, Pound A Stroke, Western Sea, Sonny B and Seskin Flyer, while the only proven CD winner in the line-up is Kavanaghs Corner, who was a nice winner here last time out – he’s up 6lbs for that though. Trumps Ace is on a three-timer after wins at Clonmel but is up another 9lbs here so more is needed. Popular owner, JP McManus is double-handed with Hash Brown and At Your Ease – of the two the last-named edges it for me. But the pick is WESTERN SEA (e/w) to win for a second time at the track. He was only 5 ½ lengths off Kavanaghs Corner here last time out but is 5lbs better off this time at the weights. He seems to run well at the track, while his trainer – Ross O’Sullivan – has a decent 25% record with his chasers here too.
4:10 Devil's Bit Beginners Chase (5yo+) 2m6f RTV
- Trainer Willie Mullins has a 38% record with his chasers at the track – MAX DYNAMITE
- Trainer Gordon Elliott has an 26% record with his chasers at the track – DORTMUND PARK
- Trainer Jessie Harrington has a 29% record with her chasers at the track – HOTEL DU NORD
VERDICT: Trainer Gordon Elliott won this race in 2018 and tries again with Dortmund Park, who is also one of just two proven course winners in the field. He can be expected to have improved for his last run as it came off a 4 month break, but has been well beaten both times he’s run over fences so that would be a concern. Willie Mullins won this in 2017 and he saddles the other course winner (hurdles) – Max Dynamite. This versatile horse has been placed in a Melbourne Cup and won over £1mill in prize money. He’s only had two runs over fences though – both came here – and not exactly set the world alright. His overall better form has been on the level – with just won win under rules (13 runs) – so that’s not ideal in my book. Thermistocles and Macgiloney are others to note, but with a 29% record with her chasers here, I’m going to side with the Jessie Harrington runner – HOTEL DU NORD (e/w). This 7 year-old was a fair third on his chase debut at Leopardstown earlier this month, but that came over 3m and this drop in trip (2m5f) looks a good move. That would have taught him a lot and you feel with only 8 career runs this horse could have a bit more scope for improvement – unlike some of the others in the race – Robbie Power rides. Myth Buster and Salty Boy are the other obvious ones to note.
4:40 www.thurlesraces.ie (Pro/Am) Flat Race (4yo) 2m RTV
- Trainer Joseph O’Brien has a 33% record with his NH Flat runners at the track - LAND JET & GOULE PIATTE
- Trainer Gordon Elliott has a 21% record with his NH Flat runners at the track – GEVREY
VERDICT: Not a lot to go on here for this NH Flat race. Light Brigade will catch the eye with a second next to its name so that experience will be a plus. Gordon Elliott has Gevery, who can be expected to have improved for his debut seventh at Naas – they’ve a decent 21% strike-rate in these races at the track too. Another yard with a solid record in this sphere at the course is Joseph O’Brien – he’s got a 33% record so his pair – Land Jet and Goule Piatte – two newcomers should be noted in the betting market. Ultra Views, Street Fighter, Cool Petra and Kapard are others to keep an on eye on in the markets, but it’s hard to get away from Jamie Codd being booked to ride MAJOR ROBINSON (e/w) so the Crawford yard. This stable often do well in NH Flat races and despite this 4 year-old making his debut here and, therefore, giving us nothing to go on – the fact Codd has been booked to ride suggests they are expecting a solid opening run.