Top tipster Andrew Mount turns his attention to Thurles for their televised Saturday card
As a general rule, it pays to make the running or at least to be prominent in handicap hurdles at Thurles. In the past five years horses who were described as ‘held up’ had a strike-rate of 4.7% for a loss of £312.50 to a £1 level stake at SP (-50.5% on turnover) whereas front-runners won nine of the 88 qualifying races (10.2%) for a loss of £7.50 (-8.5% on turnover). However, when the ground turns soft the inside of the track can get badly cut up, favouring those who challenge out wide. The bias gets stronger as the meeting goes on and we sometimes find that front-runners who hug the inside rail in the later races are at a big disadvantage. At the last Thurles meeting on March 5th the bumper was won by 20-1 shot [John Cannon]() who was held up in the early stages and challenged wider than the front-running second, the [Willie Mullins]()-trained [En Beton](). Obviously it’s tricky to determine pre-race where horses will be positioned on the track but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re playing in running. A better example was the performance of [Run For Oscar]() on February 6th – he did well to run a close second in the bumper when the inside was badly poached and landed a gamble at Leopardstown next time when a selection for this column.
In chases at Thurles, prominent racers also win more than their fair share. Since the start of 2016, hold-up horses had a 4.6% strike-rate (-£327.58 to a £1 level stake at SP, -63.2% on turnover) compared to a 23.6% strike-rate for front-runners (-£14.18 to £1, or -10.1% on turnover). Horses described as ‘prominent’ won 55 of their 376 starts (14.6%) and returned a profit of £17.18 (4.6%) at SP.
The three previous winners of the Grade 3 Pierce Moloney Memorial Novice Chase (3.10) were described as ‘made all’, ‘chased leader in second’ and ‘tracked leader in second’ and, in a smallish field, it will probably pay to be up with the pace again. SIZING POTTSIE was ridden patiently when unseating behind [Melon]() at Leopardstown over Christmas but made all at Fairyhouse next time and was never far away when following up in Grade 3 company at Navan. He impressed with the way he finished off his race that day, scoring by 12 lengths despite being neck and neck with the runner-up two out. The return to a right-handed track will suit, as will the step up to 2m2f, and his record in fields of 11 or fewer runners now reads 13U11 (3-5).
Sizing Pottsie does have to concede weight all round and I’m also going to side with MINISTERFORSPORT, another who tends to race up with the pace. He was short-headed in Grade 3 company at Navan earlier this month, a run that took his record under Rules in the spring (March to May) to 112 (2-3).
KAVANAGHS CORNER was one of my ‘trend horses’ when trained in Britain by [Simon Earle](), reserving his best efforts for right-handed tracks, usually in the spring/autumn. He’s followed the same pattern for current trainer [Henry De Bromhead](), coming through late to score over course here on his latest outing. He’s zero from five when racing left-handed over fences but when racing in today’s direction his record reads 422131531P231 (4-13), improving to 2115311 (4-7) from March to October. His patient style isn’t always ideal round here but there’s plenty of early pace in today’s line-up and they could set it up for him like they did last time.
Andrew Mount’s Best Bets
Sizing Pottsie 1.5pts win (3.10 Thurles) 9/4 Betfred
Ministerforsport 0.5pt win (3.10 Thurles) 28/1 William Hill
Kavanaghs Corner 1pt each-way (3.40 Thurles) 15/2 Betway
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