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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Robert Hynes

Willie Mullins star Sir Gerhard to make highly anticipated chasing debut after overcoming setback

Sir Gerhard is set to make his highly anticipated chasing debut at Gowran Park on Thursday.

Trained by Willie Mullins, Sir Gerhard won the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last year after previous victories in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival and a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting.

The Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding also landed the 2021 Champion Bumper at Prestbury Park, beating stablemate and odds-on favourite Kilcruit by half a length.

READ MORE: Two Willie Mullins-trained horses among favourites for Cheltenham Festival races after impressive wins

Connections revealed Sir Gerhard was a doubt for the Cheltenham Festival last month after he suffered an injury in training.

Richard Thompson, director for Cheveley Park Stud, said at the time: “Sir Gerhard’s got an injury, unfortunately. He’s going to be out for a few weeks.

“That (chasing) is still the idea, but he won’t run over the Christmas period.

“Whether he’s back for Cheltenham, who knows? It’s disappointing.”

But the eight-year-old is set to face four rivals in the Daly Farrell Chartered Accountants Beginners Chase over two miles at Gowran, a race which includes the Mouse Morris-trained Indiana Jones and Largy Debut, who has finished third behind Gentlemansgame, Minella Crooner and Might Potter in his three chase runs to date.

Willie Mullins (©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

Sir Gerhard, who will be partnered by Paul Townend, is prominent in the betting for both the Turners Novices' Chase and the Arkle at Cheltenham.

Meanwhile, Pencilfulloflead heads the betting for the Thyestes Chase betting with Ladbrokes after a full field of 18 was declared for Thursday's feature.

The nine-year-old has been the most popular pick for the race and is now 6/1 from 10/1 for the Gowran Park showpiece, while Willie Mullins’ leading hope for the 3m1f contest is Carefully Selected at odds of 7/1.

Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “The Thyestes Chase looks fiercely competitive once again and although Willie Mullins has an incredible record in the race, punters are siding with Gordon Elliott’s Pencilfulloflead, who is now our favourite for Thursday’s highlight.”

Thyestes Chase odds

6/1 Pencilfulloflead, 7/1 Escaria Ten, Carefully Selected, 10/1 Punitive, Donkey Years, Espanito Bello, Darrens Hope, 12/1 Coko Beach, Frontal Assault, 14/1 Gabbys Cross, Fakiera, Rambranlt’jac, 16/1 Dunboyne, 20/1 bar


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