STAR PREVIEW: Thurles Saturday

Racing from Thurles
Live on ITV 4 HD from 1.30pm
First Race: Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle (off time 1.40pm)

The decision to keep Irish racing ongoing behind closed doors means that – for now – we do have racing and thankfully we’ve been blessed with a quality race-meeting at Thurles today, and what’s more, the racing will be taking place on ITV 4 HD, meaning that all reading this should be able to watch it.

There’s also graded action in the shape of the Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase (3.10), which looks to be a good race for the grade. There are a number of realistic contenders to challenge the favourite Sizing Pottsie with, but the manner of his 12 length victory from the re-opposing Cut The Mustard – a previous wide margin winner of a Mares’ Listed chase – is the best form here and even at these weights he still has a favourite’s chance. Both that success and his similarly wide margin win at Fairyhouse came on heavy ground but he should be OK on this surface too and he can give 6lbs to Zero Ten, Dunevegan, and Capuccimix, all of whom have form that ties in nicely with the best novices we’ve seen this season.

The BetVictor Hurdle (2.10) is an intriguing contest where Mary France, an impressive winner of a well contested Punchestown Handicap Hurdle, is a popular choice. She’ll tale the beating here but Jetz, second at Leopardstown when returning to hurdles, presents a formidable challenge. He might have been outsped by Charlie Parcs at Leopardstown last time but a step back up in trip over hurdles should help him here and perhaps the two should be closer in the betting than their current prices, with the rest of the field – including the returning Karl Der Grosse – all having more to prove than the front pair.

The opening Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle (1.40) is a decent race for the grade where Fakiera is currently a strong favourite. That is fair on his runner up efforts at Naas and Leopardstown, but Politesse’s bumper form at Leopardstown (Grade 2 second) and Thurles (impressive winner) gives her every chance if she hurdles fluently and it wouldn’t be wise to dismiss a back to form Arthurian Fame either.

Nothing made appeal in the BetVictor Handicap Hurdle (2.40) but in the Duggan Veterinary Handicap Chase (3.40) Crazyheart could be well handicapped enough here to land a blow. He’s 6lbs better off for a two and a half-length beating from Kavanaghs Corner over course and distance and whilst that was a rather sharp return to form, it could also be that this trip over fences (with cut in the ground) is what he needs to bring out the best in him.

Last but not least, the Horse & Jockey Beginners Chase (4.10) does not look to be a strong renewal and if Myth Buster puts in a clear round then he has what is easily the best piece of form in his third behind Easy Game and Allaho at Leopardstown over Christmas. He was out of his depth in the Flogas but that can be forgiven here.

Who knows how long the show will go on, but the (Pro/Am) Flat Race (4.40) should be worth watching for future prospects.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Jetz in 2.10 Thurles 1 pt win at 5/2 with
BACK Sizing Pottsie 3.10 Thurles 2 pts win at 15/8 with
BACK Crazyheart 3.40 Thurles 1 pt each/way at 8/1 with

PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 176.03 points
(Excluding Premier League ante-post, Six Nations Outright, Six Nations Specials, Labour Leadership Contest, Cameron Brown Football Bets, New Hampshire Primary)