The Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase is the feature of the Thurles card on Wednesday. A Grade 2 affair, it is a race that has a solid record of throwing up winners at the spring festivals. The card failed an inspection on Sunday morning but providing it gets the go ahead on Wednesday, there are Cheltenham Festival clues to be had.
We will have free horse racing tips from all surviving cards on Wednesday with Lingfield and Kempton on the All-Weather by far the most likely to be on. For all the best free bets ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, check out our page. Now, let’s do a deep dive into this Thurles contest.
The Past winners
The race has only been run since 1997 so it’s a relatively short history. Despite that, it’s a race that has thrown up some very smart winners later in the season at Grade 1 level.
2002/2003/2004 – Native Upmanship
Won this ahead of finishing second in the Champion Chase in both 2002 and 2003. In each of those years he went to Aintree and won the Melling Chase.
2006/2010 – Newmill
Having won this race in 2006, Newmill went to the Cheltenham Festival to land the Champion Chase.
2015/2016 – Don Cossack
After winning his second Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase in 2016, Don Cossack went to Cheltenham to win the Gold Cup.
2017 – Sizing John
Following in the hoofprints of Don Cossack, Sizing John won this race on the way to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup less than two months later.
2.00 Thurles – Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase
As shown above, this contest has been a good guide to further success later in the season. Real Steel won in 2020 and to many eyes when they turned for home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, he was travelling as well as any. He faded up the hill but briefly, he had looked set to continue the great record of the winners of this race.
By far the most viable winner of both this race in 2021 and the Cheltenham Festival is Allaho for Willie Mullins. Three miles once more proved too far for him in the Savills at Leopardstown over Christmas. He travelled well for a long way and should be well suited to the drop back to two and a half miles.
In a stable tour with the Racing Post back in the autumn, Mullins said “The way he travels and jumps tells me shorter trips might be his thing this season. We’ll see how he copes with that line of thinking and he could end up in the Ryanair in the spring.” This looks the perfect trial race to execute that plan for the season.
There have been nibbles for him in the market for the Ryanair this week ahead of this assignment. The best price at time of writing is 10/1 with bet365, two points bigger than the majority of firms. That price looks unlikely to last if he wins impressively on Sunday.