The Thyestes Chase is always a fiercely competitive contest. Think a ‘Who has the most STDs competition?’ among the cast of Geordie Shore.
But the flipside of a competitive contest is the benefit of getting some good horses at very tasty prices and that’s what we’re after through the medium of Venn diagrams. We’ve gone through the field and sorted them out according to their fondness for the going, their record over the race distance and finally, based on their current form.
As always – anything in yellow is all good. Anything outside is mostly good but a bit unreliable. Think ‘Colin Firth films’ as a point of reference.
Kind of echoing the concerns of Ruby Walsh, we have to draw a line through Djakadam. He’s a classy horse and the heavy ground shouldn’t be a problem but his only attempt at over three miles resulted in a tired defeat in the Hennessy. He may well have come on to comfortably get the distance, but we haven’t seen evidence of it yet, so it has to be taken on trust. Gallant Oscar and Sadlers’Flaure are a couple more market leaders we are treating with caution based on unproven form on the ground and over the distance respectively.
The middle is packed full of useful handicappers who are more than capable of getting it right on the day. We’re going to be mean bastards and rule out a fairytale ending for Charlie Swan’s training career by saying we’re not totally convinced Make A Track gets the trip, but admitedly if anyone can coax it out of him, it’s Bryan Cooper in the saddle.
It’s a similar story for Like Your Style although inconsistency is the major turn-off there. Thelobstercatcher seems to handle soft and soft to heavy ground with ease, but his record on out and out heavy ground is questionable, so he’s getting the swerve.
That still leaves us with six in the middle that we can’t discount so this is where your judgement comes into play. Groody Hill looks really solid, but that depends on how you treat his top weight-carrying, later disqualified victory at Fairyhouse in November.
He was disappointing at Leopardstown over Christmas but we reckon that was just his comedown and he’ll be better this time around. Goonyella is familiar with the Grand National-prep circuit and he’s a solid bet, but as we’re fans of big prices, it’s Swordfish we’re having a good, long, not quite pervy look at.
He won on New Year’s Day carries a featherweight 9-12 on his back and is edging towards a career high rating. The Job Is Right is hard to dismiss so we’ll give him a doff of the cap without actually betting on him just to cover our asses.
As ever, we’re open to being wrong, but we’re just trying to sort through the evidence at hand to narrow down the options in such a wide open race. How you go after that is entirely up to you.
RELIABLE VALUE OPTION FOR A PLACE: SWORDFISH