Owned by the Slaneyville Syndicate, successful in the race a year ago with Total Recall, Acapella Bourgeois heads the weights for the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park on Thursday, January 28.
The 11-year-old was sixth in the race last year and most recently finished runner-up to Al Boum Photo at Tramore on New Year's Day. He is one of eight Willie Mullins-trained horses among an initial entry of 45 for the historic contest which will be televised live on RTE.
Mullins has also entered the Syndicates Racing-owned Munster National and Kerry National winner Cabaret Queen, last year’s second, Class Conti, recent hurdles’ winner Koshari and Brahma Bull as he seeks an eighth win in the race.
Monbeg Notorious gave Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy their first win in the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase in 2018 and he’s among an Elliott-entry of 13. Milan Native, Aforementioned, Roaring Bull and Dounikos, all notable handicap chase winners for the Cullentra trainer, are also engaged as are the 2019 Thyestes runner-up Alpha Des Obeaux, recent Leopardstown third Farclas and the novices, Braeside and Coko Beach.
Last year’s third Minella Fair, former Troytown Chase winner Tout Est Permis and Dream Conti make up a strong entry for Noel Meade while also holding a definite chance is the Mags Mullins-trained Agusta Gold, a recent Grade 3 winner at Fairyhouse.
Niall Madden won the Thyestes Chase as an amateur rider on subsequent Aintree Grand National hero Numbersixvalverde in 2005 and the horse that gave him his final career winner, The Long Mile, successful in the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase at Limerick, has been entered by trainer Philip Dempsey.
Other notable entries include Gearoid O’Loughlin’s Ulster National winner Space Cadet, Denis Hogan’s Moyhenna, the Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now and the Pat Fahy-trained Dunvegan.
Eddie Scally, Manager of Gowran Park, said: “We are delighted to see such competitive entries listed for our Goffs Thyestes Chase and are really looking forward to the meeting now. This will be a Goffs Thyestes Day like no other as it will be behind closed doors, but we really hope people can enjoy the action from home with live coverage on both RTE and Racing TV.”
In line with the Government’s medium-term plan for Living with Covid-19, published earlier this week, Horse Racing Ireland today announced that from Monday next (September 21) owners will be welcomed back to Irish racecourses.
Government guidelines now permit racing and other outdoor events to have a limited number of spectators on the racecourse in addition to those necessary to stage the event. With owners a stated priority for HRI, the decision has been taken to allow two people per owner to attend from next week. Pre-meeting health screening and temperature checking will be required.
Further details will be issued to owners today relating to the specific protocols to be followed.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “We are delighted to confirm that for the first time since March 13, owners will be permitted to return to the racecourse from Monday next. Owners play the most important role in Irish racing and they have had to wait quite some time to return to the racecourse to see their horses run. We have always said that getting owners back on the racecourse was our first priority and we have been working closely on this with the Association of Irish Racehorse Owners and their representative Caren Walsh.
“As all key personnel who have been racing behind closed doors since June 8 will testify, these are not race fixtures as we used to know them, and given the ongoing public health risk, it remains as important now as it ever has been, that all those attending racecourses adhere strictly to the race day protocols.
“Since we resumed racing in Ireland, the level of care and compliance with the Covid-19 protocols has been excellent and it is vital that everybody continues to comply with the rules on the racecourse around pre-health screening, social distancing and the wearing of face masks or coverings at all times.”
]The Association of Irish Racehorse Owners is deeply saddened by the passing of jockey Pat Smullen on Tuesday.
Pat was closely connected with so many owners who had the privilege of having the seven-time champion jockey riding their horses throughout his illustrious career.
From his first winner at Dundalk in June 1993 right through to his final success, which incidentally came at that same venue some 25 years later in 2018, Pat is fondly remembered by all who came into his company.
Even following his cancer diagnosis in March 2018, Pat showed all of the great qualities that had epitomized his career in the saddle, with enormous fundraising efforts which culminated in the Pat Smullen Charity Raceday at the Curragh on day two of Irish Champions Weekend last year.
That day will live long in the memory for all involved as one of the greatest days on an Irish racecourse, one that owners are deeply appreciative to have played their small part in, as Pat’s efforts resulted in over €2.5million being raised for Cancer Trials Ireland.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Pat’s wife Frances, their three children Hannah, Paddy and Sarah and their wider circle of family and friends at this time.
The AIRO were naturally extremely disappointed but understanding to hear that owners would not be allowed to attend race meetings on Monday 20th July as was previously indicated. This follows yesterday evening's announcement by Government whereby the upcoming reopening phase would postpone the limit on outdoor gatherings increasing to 500 until August 10th.
We wish to assure our members that at the first appropriate opportunity we will endeavour to ensure that owners are allowed to return to racing in order to enjoy watching their horses run. Thereafter we will work to explore the most innovative ways to enhance the experience which will naturally be very different to that experienced by owners before this crisis.
Horse Racing Ireland have released important information for the return to racecourse of owners. Please note, HRI have confirmed that the intended date of July 20th for the return of owners to racecourses has been delayed to the deferral of the Government roadmap.
Horse Racing in Ireland is now in its third week since the return to action at Naas on Monday, June 8th.
Horse Racing Ireland in consultation with the IHRB have developed a Covid-19 protocol document for key personnel necessary to run race fixtures behind closed doors.
This document details Covid-19 protocols for each industry group and the procedures which must be undertaken by all racecourses hosting race fixtures, to ensure that racing will resume in a safe and appropriate manner for everyone.
Educational webinars have also been produced by HRI and IHRB to bring the Covid-19 return to racing protocols to life. It is incumbent on everybody in the industry to familiarise themselves with the new protocols, to safeguard everyone's health and wellbeing.
The videos can be viewed HERE.
Members of AIRO will have been aware that, for some time now, the Council have been working towards changing the legal status of the organisation from an Association to that of a Company Limited by Guarantee.