It takes something to draw our attention away from historic blog nemesis Mon Parrain (Warwick), or blog favourite horse Presenting Percy (Gowran), but Thursday’s focus has to be the Thyestes Chase.
We will of course be glued to Percy’s hurdles return, hopefully a stepping point on the way to more festival success (the 4 miler Patrick, the 4 miler…).
One man almost guaranteed success is the training juggernaut that is Gordon Elliott as he sends out six of the fifteen runners for the Thyestes.
Jockey bookings offer a fascinating if not definitive guide to Gordon’s mob. At first glance Ucello Conti, twice placed in this race and a superb second over Christmas would look first choice. The booking of useful regular yard claimer Liam McKenna gets 7lbs off, not strictly required in absolute terms (10st 13 is a good racing weight) but perhaps a suggestion Gordon thinks the horse is now high enough off a domestic lifetime high of 148.
Stable jockey Jack Kennedy gets the leg up on useful novice Monbeg Notorious for the all conquering Gigginstown. This is a hard school for a novice though.
The eye popping booking though is Welsh boy wonder James Bowen. He is the next superstar jockey in the making and it is an extraordinary move from Gordon to fly him in from his base at Nicky Henderson’s to ride recent stable acquisition Out Sam.
This horse often threatened to deliver in a big race for Warren Greatrex, and his export to Ireland and to Elliott’s is an interesting move. On stable debut he was a quietly ridden 10th behind Ucello Conti over Christmas but giving the distinct impression that there was more to offer.
A rating of 131 looks workable, with the gift of Bowen’s 3lb claim effectively making that a generous 128.
The betting may tell us much, but on the jockey booking alone, we expect Out Sam to run well. He may have been a multiple point bet, but Greatrex tended to stick to a decent surface and the heavy ground is just enough to caution us back to a one point stake.
Recommendation: Out Sam, (1500 Gowran), 1pt win, 9/2 generally available
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