The Goffs Thyestes at Gowran Park is one of the highlights of the Irish jumps season and Graeme Rodway returns to run you through his best bets at the County Kilkenny track on Thursday.
Beacon Edge @ 12/1
Pencilfulloflead @ 7/1
Brazos @ 8/1
The John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle (2.15) is a cracking contest and Teahupoo is a long odds-on favourite.
However, he hasn’t always been one to rely on at short odds and it’s possible that 12/1 BEACON EDGE can upset the market leader if he reproduces his chase form.
Beacon Edge twice showed form that might be capable of winning a race like this over fences last season.
He was a close second to Lifetime Ambition at Down Royal in October and chased home Farouk D’Alene in a Grade 2 contest at Navan on testing ground in February.
He has been disappointing since, including when back over hurdles at Leopardstown last time out, but trainer Noel Meade applies first-time blinkers and it may spark a return to his best.
He was fourth to Flooring Porter in the 2021 Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and has plenty of form at this discipline. It’s not entirely out of the question that he could spring a big surprise.
Gordon Elliott saddles half of the 18-runner field in the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase (2.50) and his best chance lies with 7/1 PENCILFULLOFLEAD, who should improve back up in trip.
The lightly raced nine-year-old mixed it with some of the best novice chasers in Ireland a couple of seasons ago, but has made it to the track on just two occasions since January 2021.
He fell behind L’Homme Presse on his return from a long absence at Ascot in December 2021 and that set him back again.
He didn’t return until contesting the Clonmel Oil Chase in November and he ran a cracking race in that hot contest, despite finishing last of four runners.
Pencilfulloflead was beaten only seven and three-quarter lengths behind King George winner Tornado Flyer and subsequent Grade 1 scorer Blue Lord and that at an inadequate 2m41/2f.
He is open to plenty of improvement with that return from another long break under his belt and he is totally unexposed over this 3m1f trip. He is capable of proving himself a class apart.
The Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle (3.55) is an ultra-competitive contest, but 8/1 BRAZOS has been in good form in Britain and looks capable of producing another big run.
The John Joseph Murphy-trained gelding has competed in hot handicaps at Cheltenham on his last two starts and was beaten only by Captain Morgs over 3m at that track last time out.
That was a big step up on his previous ninth over 2m5f at the course and he shaped well, staying on strongly to take the runner-up spot, despite failing to catch the easy winner.
Brazos looks likely to improve again with that run under his belt and, while this is another drop back in trip to 2m41/2f, the ground will be more testing here than it was at Cheltenham and that may bring his stamina into play in a race where the pace should be solid.