Thurles held a rare Sunday fixture last weekend and the bookies are probably hoping that they don’t hold another one for quite some time.
This was a real killing field, a freakish day. So often when mishaps occur on the racetrack things tend to go the way of the layers, but most certainly not this time.
The opener was straight forward enough. The Holy One had been mixing in handicap company but was qualified for this Auction Maiden Hurdle.
Jessica Harrington’s runner took all the chalk on the betting boards, was 8/13 at the off and scooted home for Robbie Power.
First Approach at 4/5 was another odds on jolly to score in the next for another in form team, Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan but this time the punters were very lucky to collect.
Just three ran, unfortunately chief danger Monbeg Worldwide took a fatal fall at the third last, and then Cool Saint fell at the last when seemingly going better than the eventual winner. The bookies were anything but cool or saintly after that.
Unsurprisingly the handicap hurdle – consistent sort The King Of Breaga at a generous 7/1 – brought some relief for the layers, but there were very mixed feelings after the handicap chase where Double Portrait – 16/1 in overnight trading – obliged at 4/1.
In the big races though it continued one way traffic for the Billy Bunters, the shunters, the shark like punters.
Tout Est Permis was a lovely 11/1 pre Christmas box for our Irish Racing Service when he simply skated home in the Troytown at Navan. But I must admit I had no idea that he could finish the season a Ryanair horse.
And indeed the Gold Cup has even come under consideration though as trainer Noel Meade points out that’s probably too ambitious at this stage as he’s only six years old.
In saying all that, this 13/8 favourite left it very late indeed to deliver the goods in the Horse And Jockey Hotel Chase – formerly the Kinloch Brae – and indeed it went to a photo finish.
But the layers had a weary acceptance that the hugely backed market leader would get the verdict, and so he did, by a short head over another Gigginstown runner Sub Lieutenant.
Meade said: “I got a great kick out of that as I was at the last (fence) and there seemed no way he could win from there.”
“Ideally he wants a longer trip and softer ground, and he’ll get an entry in the Ryanair” he added.
Many of the bookies chased their losses by fielding against Camellia De Cotte in the Grade 2 Mares Novice but the 11/10 fancy won doing handstands and the layers had to dig deep into the big satchels as the payout queues lengthened.
The concluding race, a Hunters Chase, looked competitive on paper but the betting ring players were having a Beano at this stage and they plunged deep and hard for Ucello Conti who was sent off a red hot 4/9 chance.
He looked in trouble two out when the leader Gwencily Berbas seemed to have poached a few extra lengths on him. But to groans and moans from the men and women standing on the butter boxes, Gwencily Berbas parted company with Aine O’Connor at the last, leaving the odds on jolly to coast home in front for Barry O’Neill.
Gordon Elliott nominated the Foxhunters at Cheltenham as the next target for the winner. That’s building up into a red hot contest with Stand Up And Fight and Gilgamboa representing the powerful Enda Bolger/J P McManus combination and top UK point to pointer Hazel Hill throwing his hat into the ring with a runaway Hunters Chase win at Warwick last Monday.
The winners kept rolling in for Declan’s Irish Racing Service this week including Magic Of Light 3/1 (w 15/8); Tout Est Permis 9/4 (w 13/8); The Big Dog 6/4 (w evens); Camelia De Cotte 11/10; First Approach 11/10 (w 4/5) and The Holy One 5/6 (w 8/13).
Get on board now for the Dublin Racing Festival next weekend!