Willie's wary of Power hex
Mullins issues Tiepy caution for Thyestes as Mangan's Boy braces to defend crown
If you can get racing either day this weekend make sure and do so because tomorrow we have the prestigious Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park in front of a Saturday audience for the first time in memory and on Sunday the Irish Champion Hurdle and Arkle feature at Leopardstown. If you can go both days -- all the better.
Tomorrow, last year's winner Whinstone Boy will try and claim back-to-back wins in the Thyestes for Jimmy Mangan and he will take on the likes of Pomme Tiepy, who was fourth in the Paddy Power at Christmas.
Alpha Ridge is another to be prominent in the betting for trainer Paul Nolan, while joining Pomme Tiepy will be her stable companions The Midnight Club and Ballytrim.
Of Pomme Tiepy, Willie Mullins gave a wary warning about the ante post favourite.
"I was delighted with her run in Leopardstown and she's starting to come back to form," revealed the champion trainer.
"I hope she has a good chance, but I'm not sure the runners from the Paddy Power have a great record in the Thyestes and that's in the back of my mind."
In fact, last year's winner had an eye on the Welsh Grand National but after the weather got the better of that on it's original date, Mangan eyed up a return to Gowran and gave his current stable star a run at Tramore instead.
"I was delighted with his run at Tramore on New Year's Day when he ran third behind Barker, who is a class act when on form," Mangan said.
"All has gone well since. He has more weight to carry this year so it will be a tougher task but I'm very happy with him."
Also at Gowran tomorrow is the Galmoy Hurdle in which Luska Lad will carry new colours for the first time after being bought this week by familiar owner Barry Connell.
Trained by Shark Hanlon close to Gowran Park racecourse, Luska Lad is being sent on a fact-finding mission with regard to the trip.
"The horse is in super form and I couldn't be happier with him. We want to see if he stays three miles. I don't have any doubt he will, but we'll just have to wait and see.
"It will give us an awful lot more options if he does."
Luska Lad was last seen when finishing third to Hurricane Fly and Solwhit at Leopardstown last month and that duo will again go head-to-head on Sunday for the BHP Irish Champion Hurdle.
Hurricane Fly is going to be odds on to make it four Grade Ones on the trot but Willie Mullins is not yet looking beyond Sunday.
Mullins said: "Hopefully things go well on Sunday and we can then start to worry about other races.
"He likes the track -- it seems to suit him well. It's a bit frosty up there at the moment but hopefully by Sunday it should be lovely racing ground."
The Irish Arkle will pitch Saludos, a final fence faller last time, against the Noel Meade-trained Realt Dubh who took full advantage on that occasion, while Mullins saddles Flat Out (Emmett Mullins) and the Paul Townend-ridden Quel Esprit.
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