The Clonmel Oil Chase is the feature race on Clonmel’s card on Thursday, and it’s a race that perhaps unsurprisingly has been dominated by Willie Mullins, who has won seven of the last ten renewals. It’s been won by plenty of big names in recent years, including:
- 2018 – Kemboy
- 2019 – Douvan
- 2020 – Bachasson
- 2021 – Fakir D’Oudairies
- 2022 – Blue Lord
The last two winners, Fakir D’Oudairies (2021) and Blue Lord (2022) both went on to win at Grade 1 level later that season. The big name in this years race is undoubtedly Allaho, who is already a four-time Grade 1 winner. Can any of the three runners stop him making a winning return to action?
GG editor Tom Aldridge is on hand to preview this years race, running through the four runners, before giving his expert verdict on who he expects to win.
Last year’s renewal saw BLUE LORD edge out stablemate Tornade Flyer in a thrilling finish, giving master trainer a 1-2 and a record seventh victory in the race:
(Willie Mullins/Mark Walsh)
Janidil must be sick of the sight of his stablemate Allaho by now, each time he races against him he just gets beat by further! The first race was his best effort, when going down by two lengths in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, but that was as good as it got. Next time they met he was soundly beaten in the Ryanair Chase and he signed off that season finishing pulled up in the Punchestown Gold Cup, with Allaho running out an impressive winner. The one thing he does have on his side is a potential fitness advantage, with Allaho missing the whole of the 22-23 season through injury. Janidil also has a solid record when fresh, with a 1121 record over fences on the back of a 50+ day break. I fully expect him to be Allaho’s biggest danger, but I also don’t see him finishing all that close to him either.
(Willie Mullins/Paul Townend)
The class horse in the race, and he should be winning this fairly comfortably before moving onto bigger and better things, providing Willie Mullins has him fully fit (although I think he could win this if he’s 75% fit!). A four-time winner at Grade 1 level already, he was unfortunate to miss his chance of winning a third successive Ryanair Chase when injury ruled him out of last season, but I expect him to be back to best now he’s recovered. Prior to injury, his 21-22 season was incredible – winning all four races by a combined 42 lengths (three of those wins were Grade 1’s) and the other three runners are way off that kind of level. 561 days is a long time to be off the track, but I’m confident his master trainer will have him back to his best and he’s sure to have a big season ahead.
3. FRENCH DYNAMITE
(M F Morris/Darragh O’Keeffe)
French Dynamite did finish ahead of Janidil in the Ryanair Chase back in March on soft ground, but his preference is for better ground and I think he could see that form reverse here. That being said, he does have a fair record when fresh, with a 12515614 (2/8) record following a 50+ day break. If you just focus on his seasonal reappearances, that improves to 1251 (2/4), so he’s sure to run a good race. I can’t see him challenging Allaho for the win but he’s capable of filling that runner-up spot, especially now he’s 5lb better off with Janidil compared to the Ryanair Chase run. However, I think the ground could be the crucial factor here, and I feel Janidil will be better suited.
4. GRANGE WALK
(John Patrick Ryan/Liam Quinlan)
Grange Walk is the lowest rated in the line up by some way, and he looks to have plenty to find with his rivals if he’s going to be in the mix. He’s been soundly beaten in both previous attempts at graded company and he’s yet to win at this course or over this trip, plus both trainer and jockey are out of form, so the omens don’t look good for him! There are a couple of things in his favour – he’s versatile ground wise and he has fitness on his side, having raced over hurdles just four days ago. That is about all I can muster as positives for him though, and I think he’ll finish some way off the other three here, despite the fitness advantage.
There is no value tipping Allaho to win, so I think your best bet is to play the straight forecast. The one that makes most sense to chase him home is the one who has done so twice already – his stablemate Janidil. He goes well fresh and the ground won’t be an issue for him, where as I feel the ground won’t suit French Dynamite and that could prove crucial here on heavy going. Grange Walk doesn’t have the quality to get involved with the other three, and I expect him to finish a well beaten fourth.
- French Dynamite
- Grange Walk
TIP: 1st Allaho 2nd Janidil – Straight Forecast.
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