Today’s best bets, by Chris Cook
There’s no handicap trappier than an Irish handicap and today’s running of the Thyestes at Gowran Park looks well up to standard in the number of puzzles it sets for the hard-working punter. But I think I’ve cracked it and indeed I’m just wishing I’d had a good look at it when the market opened yesterday and 12-1 was available about Monbeg Notorious (3.00).
This seven-year-old is one of six in the race for Gordon Elliott, which makes him of interest right away, and the market has certainly spoken in his favour, as he’s mostly 6-1 now, with a bit of 13-2 still hanging around. A late bloomer, he’s only had three runs since he stopped being a novice hurdler and this is his first handicap.
I liked him for the way he went around Punchestown in a beginners chase on New Year’s Eve. Yes, his jumping took time to warm up but it did warm up and I think he’ll be happier getting a lead off some others in a race like this than he was doing his own donkey work that day. He looks like he’s got a significant engine and I look forward to seeing what Jack Kennedy gets out of him today.
The market has decided I’m wrong about Warwick’s long-distance handicap hurdle, so you can get 7-2 about the nap, Itsnonofurbusiness (2.35). Of the two runners penalised for bolting up last week, he’s the one I reckon has more potential for being ahead of his mark, but punters evidently prefer Henry Daly’s Crucial Role with the champ on board.
Earlier, 14-1 could be big about Gardiners Hill (2.35), who’s had a wind op since last seen. From the shrewd David Rees yard, he ran up a hat-trick at this time last year but has since dropped to a beatable mark after a fruitless run.
At Kelso, I’ll give another chance to the 4-1 shot Seldom Inn (1.15), who doesn’t have much of a record elsewhere but is 12112 at this track. He ran OK when sent back over hurdles last time and could do much better over this longer trip, with blinkers fitted for the first time.