| 15.3°C Dublin

Job looks right for Michael Hourigan in Thyestes Chase


Trainer Michael Hourigan

Trainer Michael Hourigan


Trainer Michael Hourigan

Djakadam must concede weight all around if he is to begin fulfilling his tall reputation by plundering a third Goffs Thyestes Chase in four years for Willie Mullins today.

The champion trainer has won Gowran Park's famous €100,000 handicap five times since 2000, and Ruby Walsh's six-year-old mount is a general 3/1 market leader to make it six.

He ran indifferently when eighth in the Hennessy Gold Cup, making the odd mistake before being beaten nearly 30 lengths. As such, a doubt remains as to whether three miles in heavy ground really suits Djakadam, and he also looks poorly handicapped.

At Newbury, he ran off 142, yet he is in here off 145, and Siegemaster (2011) is the only horse since Couldn't Be Better in 1997 to win off such a high mark, with the Gold Cup runner-up On His Own successful off 142 12 months ago.

Having been allotted 11st 10lb, Djakadam is also being asked to lump the biggest weight to victory in the gruelling three-miler since Bob Treacy obliged under 12st in 1999. In that context, he has a lot on his plate for a horse that still has much to prove.

Paul Gilligan and Andrew Lynch's 2013 Thyestes hero Jadanli was bang in contention when he fell three-out at Cork last time. At 13 years of age, Jadanli might find it hard to win this, but he is in off the same mark that he won off two years ago for just 10st 3lb.

In light of Charlie Swan's impending retirement, a win for Make A Track under claimer Brian Cawley would be poignant. It was in the Thyestes that Swan secured his first major training success with This Is Serious 13 years ago, so it would be a fitting swansong were he to bookend this chapter in his career by claiming it again.

Make A Track, one of three Gigginstown Stud runners in the 17-strong field, has the scope to have a say, but he has plenty weight on his back.

JP McManus also has three chances, with AP McCoy opting for Groody Hill, and Tony Martin's Gallant Oscar has already been well backed. On deep ground that he relishes, Barry Geraghty's mount has a chance now that he switches back to fences, but he doesn't seem particularly well treated.

While Jim Dreaper's mudlark Goonyella is another with live place claims for Jonathan Burke, the blinkered The Job Is Right is fancied to win.

A graded winner over flights that finished second to Faugheen at Limerick, the seven-year-old, trained by Michael Hourigan, has long been the apple of the trainer's eye.

He has gradually progressed over fences, running a blinder when fourth in the Paddy Power Chase, form that was franked by the runner-up Foxrock's triumph on Sunday. The Job Is Right also scored just four days later to foil the odds-on As De Ferbet at Punchestown. All told, then, he is a progressive novice that appeals off a three-pound higher mark under Mark Enright, an excellent young rider who has recently spoken frankly of his battle with the dreaded depression.

Noel Meade, who saddles Ipsos Du Berlais in the big race, can take the Galmoy Hurdle with Monksland.

Zaidpour, Dedigout and Briar Hill warrant respect in this Grade Two, but Monksland's third on his Leopardstown return over Christmas was encouraging, so he should take a bit of stopping under Davy Condon now.

Mullins and Walsh ought to secure the opening two hurdles with Dicosimo and Royal Caviar, while the nap goes to Smashing. Henry de Bromhead's grey has been beaten only by Don Poli, Wounded Warrior and Un De Sceaux in two Irish chasing starts, and he will meet nothing of that calibre in today's beginners' chase.

Irish Independent