Updated: Jan 27
Here is my guide to tomorrow’s meeting at Thurles, covering the first six races, courtesy of Colossus’s Place 6.
Leg 1: (12.15 - Coolmore N.H. Sires Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase (Grade 2)
COLREEVY is likely to command plenty of attention as she bids to remain unbeaten over fences following a battling display in Grade-1 company at Limerick on Boxing Day. However, I remain skeptical as to whether she can concede 7Ib to her stablemate YUKON LIL, who remains a formidable prospect and was in front of her when the pair clashed off level-weights at Cheltenham.
I’m not sure why the seven-year-old is priced up so big in the betting in comparison to her stablemate. Danny Mullins will take the ride and his mount actually finished in front of Colreevy in last year’s Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham when fourth despite being badly hampered and nearly getting bought down on the turn for home. She won impressively on her chase debut on her penultimate outing and has more to offer in this sphere, particularly if ridden more conservatively than last time.
Verdict: YUKON LIL, COLREEVY
Leg 2: (12.45 - Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase (Grade 2)
The main attraction on the card is this ultra-competitive Grade-2 and it’s hard to overlook ALLAHO who can make good use of this easier opportunity. This former top-class hurdler ran a huge race to finish third in last year’s RSA at Cheltenham in March and left his poor reappearance behind him when an eye-catching fourth in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown 4 weeks ago. He’s fancied to get back to winning ways before having his sights set on the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
Coincidentally, Willie Mullins also deploys ANNAMIX, who looked potentially high class when hacking up on his chase debut and confirmed that display when hosing up by nine-lengths next-time-out. He was far from disgraced when fourth behind Chacun Pour Soi in a Grade-1 since at Leopardstown over inadequate trip and the RPR he achieved that day suggests he’s right in the mix with further improvement forthcoming.
Verdict: ALLAHO, ANNAMIX
Leg 3: (13.20 - www.thurlesraces.ie Handicap Chase)
This looks an intriguing Handicap Chase and the class-act in the field is KITTEN ROCK, who has shown that the fire still burns in a brace of handicaps this year. The eleven-year-old was a former top-class hurdler who finished sixth in a Champion Hurdle once upon a time and wasn’t beaten far in a 0-150 handicap when last seen. The handicapper has dropped him 2Ib since, which seems generous and the presence of Mark Walsh in the saddle earns him the vote.
GREAT TANGO is a useful dual-purpose sort, who last tasted success in 2019 when winning a competitive handicap hurdle on a mark of 123 beating good horses including Great White Shark. He lacked enthusiasm when last seen but is attractively handicap on a mark of 118 on handicap debut and should go well.
Verdict: KITTEN ROCK, GREAT TANGO
Leg 4: (13.55 - W.T. O'Grady Memorial Irish EBF Novice Hurdle)
A small-compact field for this event and TORYGRAPH sets the standard on his impressive victory last-time-out when appreciating the step-up in trip. Further improvement appears a distinct possibility and is taken to follow-up with conditions to suit.
FIGHTER ALLEN can be forgiven for his poor effort when last seen in a Grade-2 and his best judged on his earlier victory at Punchestown on heavy going. He’s much better than his latest display and has every chance of bouncing back here under the champion jockey for Willie Mullins.
Verdict: TORYGRAPH, FIGHTER ALLEN
Leg 5: (14.30 - Connolly's RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle)
A fascinating match between two promising types in the shape of VINTAGE PROSECCO and EUROTIEP. The former mentioned, demonstrated useful form in bumpers and lost little in defeat when runner-up on his hurdles bow at Down Royal last time. This will be much tougher but he should have more to offer and is the one to beat on the form available.
Eurotiep filled the top-two in all four bumper outings last season which culminated in a close-up second-placed effort behind the potential high-class Hollow Games at Leopardstown. Willie Mullins’ charge looks the type to make his mark in this sphere and, with a clear round of jumping, looks the main danger to his experienced rival.
Verdict: VINTAGE PROSECCO, EUROTIEP
Leg 6: (15.05 - Leugh Handicap Hurdle)
DOUBLE JEMMY remains very interesting from a handicapping perspective. She possesses some useful pieces of form, particularly on heavy ground. His third placed-effort back in October behind Cask Mate and Frontal Assault looks strong form in the context of this event given the first and second have boosted the form at a higher-grade since. He looks nicely treated on handicap debut and has solid each-way claims.
Mouse Morris has interestingly opted to switch WHATSNOTOKNOW back to hurdles following an encouraging second over fences at this course when last seen. He’s a C&D winner with form figures at this track yielding 2, 1 and 2 from three runs. With that being said, he’s an interesting participant for his in-form connections..
Verdict: DOUBLE JEMMY, WHATSNOTOKNOW