The contrarian perspective on the Thyestes....

Last Updated: 23.01.2019

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019

The contrarian perspective on the Thyestes….

The Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park (tomorrow 3.00) is one of the most prestigious prizes on the Irish programme....

Over the years, it’s been won by the likes of Arkle, Flyingbolt and, more recently, Hedgehunter and Djakadam....

In recent years the race has become a source of relevant clues for the Grand National at Aintree. Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde both won a Thyestes ahead of winning over the big fences....

Willie Mullins has been the dominant force in the race with six winners over the years. He has a few engaged tomorrow.....

So too Gordon Elliott. There aren’t many big Irish handicaps that have eluded him. But this one did until last year when Monbeg Notorious did the business for him. No doubt Elliott would be delighted to win it again  tomorrow afternoon....

With the lack of rain in recent weeks, the ground won’t be quite as testing as it normally is at Gowran Park in January....

But they generally go at it fast end-to-end over the 3m1f trip and it will feel like further. There will be no hiding places and any stamina issues are sure to be found out....

  • A bet on General Principle....

Gordon Elliott’s GENERAL PRINCIPLE looks over-priced to me at the general 14s....

Last season’s Irish Grand National winner hasn’t set the world on fire in his two runs to date this term. And those runs will have served to extend his price....

He got well-beaten at Navan in November. And whilst he ran better at Leopardstown over Christmas, he wasn’t exactly competitive....

But you can scrub both those runs. They were undertaken on ground that was always going to be far too lively for a horse that thrives on genuine soft ground and deeper....

It isn’t as heavy as it usually is at Gowran Park tomorrow, but it is soft and I expect the 10yo to bounce back to from in more favoured conditions....

He’s dropped to a mark of 143 for his two defeats. He’s just 4lbs above his winning mark at Fairyhouse in the spring and I don’t believe puts the lid on the horse...

Not many saw his Irish Grand National win coming in April. But a heavy surface brought him to life that day and that can happen again tomorrow....

Yard principal Jack Kennedy takes the ride – just as he did on Monbeg Notorious last year. You’d think he’d get the pick of the Elliott crop, so his presence in the saddle must be taken as a positive....

  • Two-against-the-field....

I want to be two-against-the-field in this and my second pick is MR DIABLO who carries a low weight and is by the sire Presenting....

Presenting progeny have a good record in this race. Something about their make-up seems to suit this specific challenge. The last 18 Presenting-sired runners to go to post produced three wins and five runner-up finishes....

Willie Mullins has a couple of Presenting horses going to post tomorrow, but my preference is for the JP Dempsey horse – at the prices and at the weights....

The horse suffered a nasty injury in 2017, but he showed no lasting effects when finishing 2nd in the Troytown at Navan in November before showing up well over an inadequate trip at the same track the following month....

After the Troytown performance his trainer was talking about the Grand National. They appear to have written that plan off in the meanwhile....

But no matter. What the horse won’t do at Aintree in April, he can have a good crack at doing tomorrow afternoon. I reckon the horse is nicely handicapped on a mark 137, he carries a nice low weight and I think he can run a big race at the  general 16s....

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap on where my contrarian money will be going tomorrow afternoon….

In the Thyestes Handicap Chase (3.00 @ Gowran Park).

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – GENERAL PRINCIPLE (14 generally) & MR DIABLO (16s generally)

That is my take on where the value lies – but you will no doubt have your own ideas and that’s exactly as it should be.

  • The last word….

That’s all from me for now.

I’ll be back on Friday with my usual contrarian take on the weekend action....

Win, lose or draw – enjoy the racing tomorrow afternoon....

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd