Free Irish racing tips: Johnny Ward's best best for Thurles

By Johnny Ward
Sun 22 Jan 2023

After all the cancellations of late, how reassuring it is that Thurles goes ahead on Sunday, and on ground with yielding in the description no less!

This track is a gem in so many ways and it wasn't without significance that Davy Russell retired there, calling it the home of Irish racing or something similar in a post-race interview.

Little did Davy think he'd be riding at Thurles in January when announcing his decision to retire last month.

This is a blinder of a card, and every race will be shown live on Racing TV. Enjoy!

1.40 Thurles: French Dynamite

I have tipped this horse up at a decent price for the Ryanair Chase elsewhere and he needs to run well here to be a realistic contender for that.

It is fair that he is third-favourite here, but I can make a strong case he should be shorter than 6-1.

He's only a few pounds wrong at the weights, relative to the big two, and Chacun Pour Soi was miles off his best at Leopardstown, so can't be fancied to run to his mark.

Fakir D'oudairies is the one to beat but French Dynamite likes it here and is still relatively unexposed at this level as his stamina ran out at Leopardstown on his first start at the highest level over fences last time out.

2.10 Thurles: Stumptown

A fair performer over hurdles, Stumptown really caught the eye at Thurles over a shorter trip than this on his handicap debut over fences as he was pretty much detached throughout before flashing home.

He was disappointing at Punchestown next time out, although he seemed pretty well fancied, and I like the fact he returns to Thurles but is up in trip from his last visit.

Danny Mullins' strong handling should help this lazy character, too, and what's particularly fascinating is that Gavin Cromwell hasn't reached for headgear. I am presuming he feels the horse doesn't need it – a least yet!

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