By Sean Goff | Horse Racing
The Racing Post’s Pricewise has put up Outlaw Pete and Panther Claw as two against the field in this afternoon’s €80,000 Thyestes Chase (3.25) at Gowran Park and both have attracted significant money with Paddy Power.
John Halley’s Outlaw Pete now looks like he will go off favourite (Dun Doire in 2006 was the last market leader to triumph) and is 11/2 in the market and the moment with Paul Nolan’s Panther Claw 7/1 from 9s in the early-morning exchanges.
Willie Mullins expects Bishopsfurze to revel in the heavy conditions, but is less confident about having to give weight all round.
Mullins has trained the winner of this race three times in the past nine seasons with On His Own last year, Homer Wells (2007) and Hedgehunter (2004) – who went on to win the Aintree Grand National.
But Bishopsfurze will become only the second horse in 11 years to hump top-weight to victory and crucially has yet to win over three miles.
He’ll love the ground but he’s got a lot of weight. It’s going to be a tough task with that amount of weight.
There are some strong stats that the winner will have to overcome to get his – or her – head in front and chief among them is the weight carried to victory in the last 10 runnings of this competitive race that usually earns the winner a quote for the Aintree Grand National.
Siegemaster lumped 11-7 to victory in 2011 but nine of the last 10 winners have carried 10-5 or less to victory and that narrows the field down to the JP McManus -owned pair of In Great Form and Outlaw Pete and the John ‘Shark’ Hanlon-trained Murchu.
The 3m 1f slog in heavy ground has also proved a younger man’s game with 9/10 winners aged nine or younger – again only Siegemaster in 2011 has defied that stat – with 7/10 victors aged aged between seven and nine. This brings in most of the field but excludes Glenquest, Tullintain, Jadanli, Come to the Party and Tarquinius while the race may come a year too early for The Westener Boy.
AP McCoy takes the mount on Colm Murphy’s charge who takes a drop in class after being pulled up behind Back In Focus in the Grade One Topaz Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Before that he was a 25-length winner of a 3m Beginners Chase at Navan. Unexposed and likely to be progressive he must also shoulder 11st if he’s to past the post in front.
The ability to stay the trip is a must as 9/10 had won a chase over 3m. There are no fears over 3m 7f cross-country chase winner Outlaw Pete. In Great Form bolted up over 3m 1f at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day 2012 and looks a solid each-way option at around 12/1 while Murchu who got his head in front at the same track last December over 3m 5f.
Paul Nolan’s Panther Claw won a 3m 1f handicap at Punchestown the last time but his trainer noted afterwards that he was ‘slow and wanted every yard of the 3m 1f trip.’
The ‘slow’ part is a worry but in today’s testing conditions that might prove his greatest asset.
Colin McBratney’s Sole Witness comes into the race after a win over 2m 4f in a Navan handicap last December and will handle conditions after winning a Beginners Chase at Ayr over 3m 1f last March.
He’ll love the ground and the distance shouldn’t be a problem. The weights have gone up a bit which is a bit of an inconvenience, but Ben Dalton takes 5lb off him. He knows him well which will help things. He won with 11st 6lb the last time so he can cope with it OK.
Jockey David Casey has ridden the winner three times in the last decade with On His Own (2012) Hedgehunter (2004) and This Is Serious (2002) and takes the mount on 25/1 poke Toon River today.