Five races from Thurles will be shown on ITV Racing on Saturday, and Betfair Ambassador Gordon Elliott will play a big role with his seven runners on the card...
"He followed that with another good run behind a useful horse of Willie's in Jon Snow at Leopardstown and a repeat of either of those runs must give him a good chance."
- Gordon Elliott on Fakiera
*Best Chance - Fakiera (13:40)
A good chance to get off the mark
13:40 - Fakiera
He has made an encouraging start over hurdles by finishing second in two maidens and he's a horse that I hope we will have a lot of fun with over the coming months. Ideally he would prefer a longer trip but he was second to a decent horse in Entoucas over two miles at Naas last month. He followed that with another good run behind a useful horse of Willie's in Jon Snow at Leopardstown and a repeat of either of those runs must give him a good chance.
Strong race and my two need to improve
14:10 - Ferocious & Cartwright
Ferocious surprised us with his maiden hurdle win at Tramore during the winter when he beat quite a useful horse in Five O'clock. He hasn't gone on from that and was very disappointing at this track last month but I'm hoping that this longer trip will help him and this mightn't be quite as strong a race. On his last two runs he is hard to fancy but he showed at Tramore that he is a useful horse on his day.
Cartwright was a very useful novice hurdler two seasons ago but lately he has not looked the force of old and he was well beaten in a Pertemps Qualifier at Punchestown last time. He still works like all his old ability is still there and maybe this race could show him off to better effect so hopefully he will take a step in the right direction but he is going to have to take a significant jump forward on what he has done this season.
Hopeful he can bounce back to form
14:40 - Sporty Yankee
He is a limited type but on his day he is capable of running well at this level. His last two runs leave him with plenty to do but his second place finishes in handicaps at Fairyhouse and Ayr earlier this season would give him a chance. He has had a nice break since he last ran and seems very well in himself so hopefully he can bounce back to form.
Should run well if coping with trip
15:10 - Dallas Des Pictons
I was pleased with his last run in Naas where I thought he showed signs of progressing into the novice that we hoped he would be at the start of the season. He just made a mistake at the wrong time of the race and ended up getting run out of the first three late on but he was beaten less than a length and there were plenty of positives to take from that effort. I would be a little concerned about coming back to this trip but if he copes with this distance he should run well.
Shorter trip and recent run to work in his favour
16:10 - Dortmund Park
He won a Grade 1 novice hurdle for us a couple of seasons ago but things haven't worked out for him since then. We have operated on his breathing to give him a chance and I thought that his last run at Leopardstown wasn't too bad as he showed up well for much of the race before weakening from the second last. That was his first run for four months and he would have needed it so I'm hoping the benefit of that run coupled with this slightly shorter trip will work in his favour.
Each-way claims with experience behind him
16:40 - Gevrey
I thought he might have run a bit better on his debut at Naas last month but it was a very slowly run race, he got caught on the outer and he just didn't know enough when they sprinted for the last couple of furlongs. He probably ran a little better than his final position would suggest and I would hope that the experience he picked up there will enable him to run a creditable race. He's got an each-way chance.
To learn more about Thurles' unique track and the history involved be sure to check out Kevin Blake's superb article, published earlier this week.