Beach looks enticing in Thyestes
WILLIE Mullins has dominated the Thyestes meeting at Gowran in recent years and could bag three or four winners on the card again but it may be worth going against him in the feature event.
Gordon Elliott is yet to win the historic feature race but looks to have a great chance this year with four live chances.
The best of those may be Mala Beach who has a very appealing profile coming into the race.
A tough and progressive stayer over hurdles, who also loved soft ground, his finest hour came when running out an impressive winner of the Galmoy Hurdle at this meeting two years ago.
He was a serious contender for the World Hurdle after that performance but missed that engagement on better ground.
The eight-year-old only had three outings over fences as a novice, the last of those when finding life a bit tough behind Don Poli in Grade One company.
After an early fall on his reappearance at Thurles this season he ran a fine race to finish second in a graduation chase at Ascot last month.
That was over two-mile-five-furlongs and he’ll appreciate stepping back up to three miles now and tackling softer ground also.
Given that he was among the leading staying hurdles around a couple of years back, and was always viewed as a chaser long-term, a mark of 142 for his handicap chase debut here looks low for a horse that remains unexposed over fences having just had four completed starts.
Stablemate Ucello Conti also has to have a big shout having chased home Minella Foru in the similarly competitive Paddy Power at Leopardstown ove Christmas.
He just gave way on the run-in then and despite a 6lb rise has to be strongly considered in similar conditions.
Bryan Cooper has chosen Folsom Blue from the five Gigginstown runners and he might have been closer at the end had he stayed straight on the run-in when third in the Paddy Power. He is another with claims.
Willie Mullins also saddles a quartet and Ruby Walsh gets the leg up on Ballycasey. He was a classy novice but proved a bit disappointing last season.
The grey must be showing the right signs at home to be the main pick here, however, and if he can recapture his best he’d be the one to beat.
The Galmoy Hurdle has attracted a strong line-up again and Alpha Des Obeaux can get his turn in the Grade Two contest.
He has bumped into some classy sorts this season and ran another fine race when chasing home Prince Of Scars at Leopardstown.
Martello Tower, who was behind in third then, is expected to improve considerably for the run but has to give away 7lb now.
Connections have already warned that English raider At Fishers Cross will come on a lot for the outing here, while the talented Briar Hill has something to prove after a few disappointing runs last year.
Elsewhere on the card, Willie Mullins looks like he could dominate with Footpad, Au Quart De Tour, Tell Us More and Avenir D’Une Vie all looking set to be skinny prices.