The Thyestes Chase looks set to be a typically competitive renewal when it gets underway at Gowran Park on Thursday afternoon. Twenty entries have been declared for the three mile, one furlong contest and it is likely to be a real test of stamina as conditions are on the heavy side in Ireland, with Bishopsfurze currently holding sway with the bookies.
Bishopsfurze is 6/1 ante-post favourite with Betfred and he is the sole entry of Willie Mullins, who has won this race four times in the past 13 years. The Irish trainer tends to aim his up-and-coming stayers at this event and it has proved fruitful in the past as Micko's Dream (2000), Hedgehunter (2004), Homer Wells (2007) and On His Own (2012) have all landed the spoils.
Mullins will hope to land a fifth win with Bishopsfurze this week and the 8-year-old is bidding to enhance his own record of eight wins from 15 career starts, including victory on his reappearance at Thurles in November. The son of Broadway Flyer was put in his place by Flemenstar in the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup last April and carries top-weight on Thursday, although there is no doubt he is the class act in this racecard.
Outlaw Pete is also well respected at 7/1 and the Witness Box gelding has continued to progress this season. The 9-year-old loves a test of stamina as he was third over 3m, 7f at Cheltenham before landing the Cross Country Chase during the December Meeting at the same course.
Paul Nolan's Panther Claw has also been enjoying an upward curve in form as the lightly raced gelding bids to improve on some impressive efforts in just six career starts to date. The son of Old Vic won his handicap debut at Punchestown last time out and rises 7lbs from that day as a result, although he looks nicely placed in this race and the test of stamina should be welcome, with Fred pricing him 8/1.
Also at 8/1 is Glenquest and the 10-year-old has unfinished business with this race after missing out through injury last year. Terence O'Brien's gelding has showed no ill-effects when returning to racing after nearly two years out in September and he has performed with credit in six outings since.
Tullintain is another who has a point to prove in the Thyestes as Robert Tyner's 10-year-old looks to avenge his unlucky defeat to On His Own in this race last year. The 10/1 shot has hinted at a return to form by finishing second in a valuable handicap at Limerick over Christmas and he is a horse that tends to thrive at this time of year.
Meanwhile, Sole Witness, a winner on heavy ground at Naas last month, is available at 10/1, although the each-way value could like with Tarquinius at 16/1 with Betfred. The 10-year-old is a seasoned performer in this sort of company and he is a tough sort as he has regularly produces the goods in demanding conditions. He has consistently picked up place money throughout his career and he arrives at Gowran in fine form after winning three of his previous five starts.
7/1 Outlaw Pete
8/1 Panther Claw
10/1 Sole Witness
12/1 The Westener Boy
12/1 In Great Form
14/1 Son Amix
16/1 Come To The Party
Odds supplied by Betfred.com.
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