Timeform Irish SmartPlays: Thursday January 21

The €100,000 Thyestes Handicap Chase is the feature event at Gowran on Thursday
The €100,000 Thyestes Handicap Chase is the feature event at Gowran on Thursday

Timeform's Irish team have picked out three bets from Gowran, including a selection in the valuable Thyestes Handicap...


"Page Turner didn’t run much of a race at the same track on his reappearance last month, but he’s entitled to strip fitter for that, and he makes plenty of appeal here reverting to hurdling from what is a potentially very lenient mark of just 117."

Briar Hill - 14:00

Last season was something of a washout as far as Briar Hill was concerned, but he looked potentially high-class as a novice hurdler the previous term and is taken to get back on track here on his reappearance. Last successful in a Grade 2 novice at Naas two years ago (when beating Apache Jack and Very Wood), little has gone right for Briar Hill in just four runs since, starting off with a fall in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham (won by Very Wood) on his next outing. He admittedly underwhelmed when only fourth of five in this race last term, but his subsequent outing in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan was more promising, holding every chance when falling at the last in the race won by Dedigout. Successful fresh in the past, Briar Hill can shrug off an eleven-month absence and make a successful return in this five-runner Grade 2.


Page Turner - 14:35

This seventeen-furlong handicap hurdle looks a wide-open affair. Last-time-out winners Black Ice and Ice Cool are both likely to be well fancied, but the one who catches the eye most among the twelve runners is top-weight Page Turner. He's better known as a useful handicap chaser, successful at Limerick last season off a mark 131 prior to finishing a close second at the same track from a mark 5 lb higher. Page Turner didn't run much of a race at the same track on his reappearance last month, but he's entitled to strip fitter for that, and he makes plenty of appeal here reverting to hurdling from what is a potentially very lenient mark of just 117.


Ballycasey - 15:10

Willie Mullins has a tremendous record in the Thyestes Chase, a valuable staying handicap which is the highlight of this Gowran midweek fixture. 2015 winner Djakadam was Mullins' sixth winner of the Thyestes - and third in four years - and it's worth chancing that Ballycasey can continue the Mullins dominance. The choice of Ruby Walsh from Mullins' four runners, Ballycasey was somewhat up and down last term but he signed off with an encouraging fourth in the valuable staying handicap at Punchestown won by Gallant Oscar. Granted, Ballycasey's stamina is a slight concern over this twenty-five furlong trip, especially with the likelihood of testing ground, but he could prove to be well treated returning from an eight-month break from a mark of 149 (grade 1 winner as a novice). Furthermore, his excellent record fresh is a big plus, having won first time out in each of his four previous seasons.


Timeform Irish SmartPlays (all from Gowran Park)

Back Briar Hill - 14:00
Back Page Turner - 14:35
Back Ballycasey - 15.10


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