Sunday’s card at Thurles is sure to have Cheltenham Festival ramifications and the Racing Post’s Robbie Wilders eyes up three bets.
Chacun Pour Soi probably never gets the credit he deserves from a British audience as he has disappointed a few times away from home, but he has landed six Grade 1s in Ireland and been one of the stars of Willie Mullins’ Closutton stable for several years now.
Mullins mentioned the idea of sending Chacun Pour Soi up in trip at the beginning of the season and the low-mileage 11-year-old gets that opportunity in the Grade 2 Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase (1.40).
There is little doubt Chacun Pour Soi ran better than the finishing distance suggested in the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase on his return at Leopardstown over Christmas as an awful mistake at the second-last halted his momentum and knocked the stuffing out of him.
He’d definitely have beaten Captain Guinness for second without that error and I reckon he might have given impressive winner Blue Lord something to think about too.
This won’t be an easy assignment as Fakir D’Oudairies is a specialist over this trip and doesn’t have Allaho to deal with this season, having chased home the division’s undoubted star in the previous two runnings.
However, Chacun Pour Soi is arguably the best horse Fakir D’Oudairies has faced excluding Allaho, and I see no reason why the old warrior won’t stay this two and a half mile trip.
It is also worth having a tickle on Chacun Pour Soi with bet365 for the Ryanair Chase at 20-1 given the doubts surrounding the well-being of short-priced ante-post favourite Allaho.
Mullins clearly likes using this race as a prep run for the Ryanair and Chacun Pour Soi’s odds are guaranteed to plummet if he fends off Fakir D’Oudairies, who is around half the price in that market.
Gordon Elliott called on his old ally Davy Russell to come out of retirement to deputise for the injured Jack Kennedy recently and I expect the top jockey to get on the scoresheet at Thurles.
That can start with Gallyhill in the 2m5½f handicap chase (2.10) The key to Gallyhill is returning to this sort of trip as two miles looked a little too sharp when he was unlucky to bump into a bang-in-form rival at Fairyhouse last time.
I’m sure a mark of 129 is still pretty fair for a useful type who ran in a Grade 1 novice hurdle less than two years ago for Nicky Henderson.
The eight-year-old has been a model of consistency in four starts since joining Elliott and he could hardly have been found a more winnable event.
Santonito also has a great chance for Russell in the 2m7f novice hurdle (3.10), with probable market rival Embassy Gardens failing to really impress over hurdles as of yet for Willie Mullins.
While Santonito looked to squander a golden opportunity at Naas two starts back, impressive winner Hiddenvalley Lake has boosted the form since by landing a Grade 3 at Cork in effortless fashion.
He now heads the Albert Bartlett betting at the Cheltenham Festival. My selection made no mistake next time with a gritty success at Clonmel and this distance is expected to suit.