The opening beginners’ chase at Thurles (2.30pm) is restricted to horses that are rated 109 or less over hurdles, and consequently looks a relatively weak affair. It has an open look to it, but at the prices Castlegrange is worth siding with.
With the exception of the favourite Jack Fiasco (whose best form is on better ground, but is nevertheless a danger), his hurdles form is as good as anything on offer, notably a clear second behind the subsequently useful Aarons Day at Fairyhouse last January.
He was brought down on his chasing debut/seasonal reappearance in October, but then ran two very creditable races in defeat over hurdles. The ‘REF’ doesn’t look great on his next chasing start, but there was a melee at the seventh fence and the horse went to follow the group that had been carried out by a loose horse – it is definitely one that can be forgiven!
His latest run, a fourth of 20 at Navan off 103, was another indication that there is plenty of ability here and he is actually a very good jumper of a fence. J D Dullea is a very capable trainer and he has had a couple go well at prices in the past fornight, which is encouraging as regards the stable form.
He is proven on soft/heavy, the trip is ideal and I am confident there is a bigger performance in him.
2.30pm Thurles – 1pt win Castlegrange @ 15/2 (all firms, take Best Odds Guaranteed)