Arbor Supreme: in good form, but stats are against him, says Willie MullinsPicture: Caroline Norris
Mullins trio out to add to fine Thyestes record
WILLIE MULLINS, who has the best record of any current trainer in the Thyestes Chase, is triple-handed in his bid for a fourth win in the Gowran Park feature on Thursday.
Mullins, who landed the Thyestes Chase with Micko's Dream (2000), Hedgehunter (2004) and Homer Wells (2007), looks to Arbor Supreme, Homer Wells and Emma Jane to enhance his impressive record, and although he feels all three have good prospects, he highlighted the chance of the Ruby Walsh-ridden Emma Jane, a general 10-1 shot, in particular.
He said: “Emma Jane will have come on from her run in the Paddy Power at Christmas. She's in on a nice low weight, and we've always felt that there is a decent handicap to be won with her this season."
When assessing the chance of second-favourite Arbor Supreme, Mullins was quick to raise the issue that low-weighted horses have dominated the race - only four times in the past 25 years has the winner carried 11st or more, although the last to do so was the trainer’s Micko’s Dream.
"Arbor Supreme is in very good form. He stays well and goes on the ground, but the stats are against him as horses carrying more than 11st have quite a poor record.”
Mullins did not wish to dismiss the chance of his 40-1 outsider Homer Wells, saying: “He is coming backfrom a long absence. His form last season was disappointing but what he has going for him is a reasonable weight, the trip and the ground, plus the fact he won the race two years ago.”
Eric's Charm, who represents Oliver Sherwood, will be attempting to become the fourth British-trained winner, following Mweenish (1990), Zeta's Lad (1993) and Couldn't Be Better (1997).
Although,off 11st 6lb, he will be attempting to buck the negative trend for those at the top end of the handicap, Sherwood has booked 5lb claimer Mark Bolger to ease the burden.
Sherwood said: “He disappointed a bit at Ascot as his jumping wasn’t very good, but that was probably down to the ground not being as soft as we hoped.
"It can’t be too testing for him - and he’s tough as teak, so will certainly stay. He’s got nearly top weight but he’s in good form and has a new lad on board [Mark Bolger] claiming five, which is bit of a punt as well.”
The ground at Gowran Park was heavy on Wednesday, with the threat of further rain prompting a 7.30am inspection on Thursday.
Read more trainer quotes from Gowran Park in the quotes section of live reporter on Friday morning