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Thyestes Handicap Chase: Timeform preview and free Race Pass


The Thyestes Handicap Chase (14:50) at Gowran on Thursday is available as a free Race Pass, which means logged-in customers can view all our premium comments and ratings.

Gowran’s card features one of Ireland’s top staying handicap chases, the Thyestes (14:50), which looks a typically competitive renewal in which Gordon Elliott is responsible for half of the entire field.

While Elliott has at least a few with good claims, the one who makes most appeal is ‘Hot Trainer’ Henry de Bromhead’s sole representative Gabbys Cross (163). Still fairly lightly raced over fences, his latest win came in another competitive handicap at last summer’s Galway Festival when holding on grimly to beat the future Kerry National winner Busselton. Gabbys Cross wasn’t seen to best effect in that race himself but he shaped well on his latest start, earning the ‘Horse In Focus’ flag, when sixth behind Real Steel in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Leopardstown. He would have finished closer but for some late blunders having still been in third jumping the last but still fared best of several from that race whom he meets again here.

Pick of the Elliott brigade are Punitive (162) and Escaria Ten (164). Punitive only joined the stable this season and was still a maiden over fences until his latest start when stepped up in trip for the Porterstown Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse last month where he looked a dour stayer, coming from an unpromising position turning in to head stablemate Fakiera (160+) at the last before going on to win by two and a half lengths. Although back down in trip here, this stiff test will suit Punitive and Jordan Gainford keeps the ride. Fakiera is still a maiden though ran well again last time when second in an amateur event at Punchestown.

Escaria Ten has top weight and is another proven over longer trips. Down the field in this race last year, his best recent effort was when touched off by Any Second Now in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last February. He shaped well on his first start since the Grand National when two lengths second to the fitter Darasso in a listed chase at Thurles last month having raced close to a strong pace and should come on for that run.

Pencilfulloflead (165+) could be another interesting runner for Elliott as he looks quite well treated for his first handicap. Raced mainly at shorter trips, he clearly hasn’t been easy to train and shaped as though needing the run after another absence when last of four in the Clonmel Oil Chase won by Blue Lord after almost unseating two out. Off ten weeks since, he has a good record fresh and will have underfoot conditions to suit.

‘Hot Trainer’ Willie Mullins’ multiple entries are headed by Paul Townend’s mount Carefully Selected (160). He was a smart novice in the 2019/20 season (odds on for the National Hunt Chase in which he unseated) and was making his return from the best part of three years off since that run at Cheltenham when down the field in the Paddy Power Chase, looking understandably rusty but shaping as if retaining his ability nonetheless.

Espanito Bello (163?) gained his only win over fences in a beginners chase at Naas over two years ago but the pair who chased him home, Coko Beach and Longhouse Poet, have been the last two Thyestes winners. Espanito Bello has been lightly raced of late, mainly over hurdles, but his only run this season, at Galway in October, looked a step back in the right direction.

Front-running mare Darrens Hope (160) is a second-season novice and gained her biggest win when causing an upset in the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown last time though she had a fitness edge there when rallying for a head win over Minella Crooner.

Donkey Years (162) unseated early on in the Paddy Power Chase last time but has a consistent record in staying handicaps over the last twelve months, winning the Pat Taaffe at the Punchestown Festival and faring best of several in this line-up when third behind The Big Dog in the Munster National at Limerick in October.

A couple more of the Elliott entries to mention are the Gigginstown-owned pair Frontal Assault and Coko Beach (both 161). Frontal Assault turned in a career-best effort when runner-up to Lord Lariat after making much of the running in last season’s Irish Grand National. He’s still a novice this season, though, getting off the mark when beating Darrens Hope in a minor event at Galway in October, but was beaten some way when third to Gaillard du Mesnil in the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown last time. The return to handicap company here should be more his cup of tea.

Coko Beach was only a six-year-old when winning this race two years ago – thereby earning the ‘Horses For Courses’ flag - and has found life tougher since, though his latest start when fourth behind The Big Dog (just ahead of Frontal Assault) in the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan last time was one of his better recent efforts.

Rambranlt’Jac (158) is only a reserve but would be of some interest if getting a run given his lightly-raced profile over fences for Mullins. He possibly failed to stay when sixth in the Troytown last time having got off the mark over a slightly shorter trip on better ground at the Galway Festival.

Completing the list of main contenders is the novice Dunboyne (161§), another for Elliott. He’s something of a risky proposition, however, putting his best foot forward when winning a handicap over two and a half miles here in November but, not for the first time, looking none too keen before being pulled up on his latest outing.

Timeform analyst’s verdict

Preference is for Gabbys Cross, who shaped well on his return from a three-month absence at Leopardstown last time and remains on a workable mark. Punitive and Escaria Ten head the list of dangers in a typically competitive renewal of this contest.

Timeform weight-adjusted ratings

165+ Pencilfulloflead

164 Escaria Ten

163 Gabbys Cross

163? Espanito Bello

162 Donkey Years

162 Punitive

161 Coko Beach

161 Frontal Assault

161§ Defi Bleu

161§ Dunboyne

161? Braeside

160+ Fakiera

160 Carefully Selected

160 Darrens Hope

160x Lieutenant Command

160 Stones And Roses (Reserve)

158x Captain Kangaroo

158 Egality Mans

158 Rambranlt’Jac (Reserve)

157 Flash de Touzaine

155x Regia Dracones (Reserve)

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Free Daily Race Pass



1st Rossa Ryan silk 4. EAGLE EYED FREDDIE 15/28.5
2nd Cam Hardie silk 1 10. INEXPLICABLE (IRE) 15/28.5
3rd Trevor Whelan silk hd 3. TROJAN TRUTH 10/111
J: Rossa Ryan  
All 13 ran.


1st Ben Sanderson silk 3. MR TRICK (IRE) 17/29.5
2nd Elisha Whittington silk ns 10. COAST 28/129
3rd Aidan Keeley silk 2. GLORIOUS CHARMER 3/14
J: Ben Sanderson (3)  
T: Ian Williams  
9 ran. NRs: 6  7 


1st Trevor Whelan silk 5. PROBE 16/117
2nd Ryan Sexton silk 13. SHALAA ASKER 12/113
3rd Mark Winn silk ¾ 10. MUSCIKA 10/111
All 13 ran.


1st Rossa Ryan silk 10. VERBIER (IRE) 6/42.5f
2nd Luke Morris silk ½ 9. TRANQUIL ROSE (FR) 5/16
3rd Robert Havlin silk ½ 8. ROADWAY (USA) 8/19
J: Rossa Ryan  
All 10 ran.


1st George Rooke silk 2. NOGO'S DREAM 4/111.36f
2nd William Pyle silk ns 4. CAESARS PEARL (IRE) 22/123
J: George Rooke  
All 5 ran.


1st P. J. McDonald silk 5. SO CHIC (IRE) 3/14
2nd Harry Burns silk 0 4. TOPO CHICO (IRE) 9/110
All 7 ran.


1st C. D. Hayes silk 12. QUEEN'S PARDON 7/18
2nd G. F. Carroll silk ½ 10. SEEINGISBELIEVING (IRE) 16/117
3rd J. A. Powell silk nk 14. RUN FORREST RUN (IRE) 25/126
4th N. M. Crosse silk ¾ 7. MOGWLI (IRE) 7/18
J: C. D. Hayes  
17 ran. NRs: 15  16  20 


1st Rossa Ryan silk 7. YOU SAW BRIGADOON (IRE) 2/13f
2nd Franny Norton silk ½ 3. COLOANE (IRE) 5/23.5
3rd Ross Coakley silk 4 4. PRINCESS NAOMI 9/110
J: Rossa Ryan  
9 ran. NRs: 9 

17:20 KELSO

1st Conor O'Farrell silk 2. BERTIE'S BALLET 17/29.5
2nd Stephen Mulqueen silk 3 9. IDEM (FR) 18/119
3rd Craig Nichol silk ns 8. BOTH BARRELS 66/167
T: Dianne Sayer  
All 14 ran.
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