GOWRAN Park’s biggest meeting of the season saw the crowds return in their thousands to watch the track’s feature handicap chase of the season, the Goffs Thyestes Chase.

The well-backed Longhouse Poet (155) proved too strong for Franco De Port in a contest run at a strong pace throughout to produce a fast overall time. However, just how fast in terms of awarding a rating is a challenge though and may take some follow-up analysis as the only other chase on the card won by Cheltenham bound Coeur Sublime (121+) was very slowly run throughout.

As an indication of the pace, using the leaders in their respective race, the three-mile handicappers were 5.3secs quicker from the home straight to the first fence in the back straight and stretched another 5.1secs further ahead on reaching the fourth last fence.

The gap closed slightly on the run for home as Coeur Sublime recorded a closing sectional of 77.5secs in comparison to Longhouse Poet’s 79.0secs.


Royal Kahala (154) showed exactly why Peter Fahey holds her in such high esteem on soft ground as she lowered the colours of the one-time Stayers’ Hurdle favourite Klassical Dream (142).

The seven-year-old mare was responsible for the fastest time of the day over hurdles as she covered the final circuit 2.5secs quicker than opening race winner Uncle Gerhard who came from off the pace in his race with a closing sectional almost the equal of the Galmoy Hurdle winner, the relevant data being Uncle Gerhard (105+) 60.8secs and Royal Kahala 60.5secs.

However, both were eclipsed by Mercurey (143+) who was faster overall when adjusted for distance and the lack of hurdles as well as closing off from the site of the third last hurdle. The son of Muhtathir stopped the clock at 56.9secs and is yet another to add to the growing list of talented bumper horses at Closutton.

Eyecatchers of the week

Aucunrisque (130+), Wincanton, Wednesday January 26th – impressed on the clock for the second and looks destined to rise the ranks in handicap hurdles.

Wyvern (86+), Lingfield, Tuesday January 25th – showed an impressive turn of foot from the three-furlong marker and looks sure to progress.