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Unexpected Depth

On official ratings this looks to be between Unexpected Depth and Commander Of Fleet. The latter was a runner-up to Minella Indo at the Cheltenham Festival two years ago, but hasn’t been in the same form since returning from an absence in November. With that in mind, the high-flying Oliver McKiernan charge looks to be the sensible option. He’s finished in the frame on his last six outings and was 8l in front of Pertemps Final winner Mrs Milner, giving her 2lb at Christmas. Second to a Willie Mullins horse improving for a step up in trip last time, this contest looks his for the taking.


Felix Desjy has 20lb in hand on most of these, but one that he might strugg;e to see off is Henry De Bromhead’s mare. Receiving nearly a stone from the Gigginstown-owned gelding, Zakareva is likely to be on the premises in the feature. She’s beaten both a Cheltenham Festival winner (Heaven Help Us) and a Dublin Racing Festival scorer (A Wave To The Sea) in her short career over the larger obstacles, both coming over today’s trip. Things didn't go right when fourth to higher rated rivals at Cheltenham in November, but back on home ground after a break she can continue her progression over fences.

Espion Du Chanet

Louise Lyons’ horse has parted company with his rider a couple of times when sent off favourite this season, most recently here at Thurles a month ago. When maintaining his partnership with his jockey, the 7yo has shown himself to be capable of winning plenty at this sort of level. He held on well to hold off the late challenge of The Chapel Field here two starts back and showed plenty of dogged determination to pull clear of his rivals over 2m at Naas earlier this term. He shapes as though this step up in trip will suit, and in a race that looks pretty windy, he’s easy to recommend.


The way in which this one has finished off his last two outings suggests the return to this stiffer stamina test will see the 13yo in a better light. Two starts back at Down Royal he was a detached fourth jumping two-out but he kept on well over 2m4f to take second in the home straight, without threatening to catch the leader. He plodded on in fair fashion next time in fourth behind a clear winner in Castlegrange. While Cappacon is still winless over fences, he’s now 4lb lower than his last winning mark over hurdles, and might find things coming together here.

About Thurles Racecourse

A three day festival was first held at Thurles racecourse in 1732, and since then the course has built a reputation of one that can withstand the worst weather Ireland can throw at it. The right-handed course is undulating in nature, with a sharp descent preceding a climb to the winning post.

A trio of Grade 2 contests are the highlights on the calendar with January’s Kinloch Brae going to subsequent Gold Cup and Champion Chase winners on more than one occasion this century.

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