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Johnny Ward's Irish Angle: Birdie Blitz looks well up to scratch

By Johnny Ward
Wed 22 Jan 2020

Arkle and Flyingbolt are among those who have won Gowran Park's Thyestes Chase, a race named after a figure from Greek mythology.

I am not going to lie. High-class handicap chases are generally not my cup of tea for betting and this looks really difficult, even if something has to win it.

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12.45 Gowran: Birdie Blitz

One of the card's most intriguing runners. The Milan-bred is out of a mare by Martaline, who was not only a Listed hurdle winner in France, but also one on the level over a mile and three.

On her debut the grey was beaten 23 lengths when considerately handled behind Pakens Rock (rated 136 now) and Future Proof (124).

Of similar interest is another maiden run when again not knoacked about, under 10 lengths off the winner at the line and just behind Alfa Mix, touched off Saturday for Gavin Cromwell off 136.

On her handicap debut at Gowran, Birdie Blitz was on the face of it disappointing but she was never put into the race and allowed to come home in her own time. She is running off just 94 and looks sure to be far better than that sooner or later. Simon Torrens, who has ridden her on her best two runs, takes over, claiming 7lb.

1.20 Gowran: Aione

The Coastal Path-bred's form ties in with classy stablemate Tiger Tap Tap. He was second last time in a hot maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse, late faller Column Of Fire hacking up next time. This should be pretty straightforward, even against two useful prospects in Henry Brown and West Cork Wildway, to whom he gives weight.

4.10 Gowran: Light Brigade

It will be a special day when Charles Byrnes and son Philip combine for their first winner on the track, the former pony rider likely to be good value for his claim. Stamina would be a question-mark for some of these four-year-olds but not Light Brigade, one of two runners by Leading Light.

He is a half-brother to smart handicap chaser, Spider Web, top-class bumper performer Colreevy, another bumper winner in Runfordave, useful jumper Hurricane Darwin and another winner in January Jets. The trainer has an 18% hit-rate in Irish bumpers the past five seasons.

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