The ITV Racing cameras head to both Clonmel and Taunton on Thursday, with some good action to look forward to. The feature is the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase and Nick Luck has run his eye over it all for us.


DESIRE DE JOIE (5/1) can win the first televised race on the bonus ITV card at Clonmel on Thursday (1.50pm). Relative to most of these, this seven-year-old is pretty unexposed and makes his handicap debut off what looks a pretty fair mark given what he achieved a couple of times over shorter in novice and maiden hurdles last season, particularly behind Foxy Jacks and Eklat De Rire at Punchestown. He didn’t need to be at his best to break his maiden over three miles on his seasonal debut, but can move forward for that run and won’t mind coming back in trip on softish ground. Gavin Brouder takes off another five pounds.

SHATTERED LOVE can repeat last year’s triumph in the Mares’ Chase (2.25pm) at 2/1, having been set some desperately stiff tasks against really talented horses in the interim. She has won six of her last seven starts against her own gender and can appreciate slightly calmer waters here. Her comeback was perfectly respectable behind The Storyteller – indeed, you could argue it was a fair bit better than her prep for this last season. By contrast, Cabaret Queen didn’t go on from a hard race last season, while this might not be far enough for Magic Of Light nowadays.

BACHASSON (2/1) might upset his stablemate Cilaos Emery in the Clonmel Oil Chase (3.00pm). Neither quite has the profile that their ratings deserve, but both have been sparingly campaigned, and in slightly unorthodox fashion, mixing and matching hurdles and fences. One thing for sure, however, is that Bachasson is absolutely formidable when allowed to bowl along on soft ground over fences over this sort of trip. Furthermore, his record in completed starts going right-handed (including here last March) reads 1112211111.

ODDS OR EVENS needs a couple to come out to get a run in a pretty flaky looking handicap chase (3.35pm), but I’m pretty sure he’s well-handicapped judged on one or two bits of his form. He hasn’t really had much of a genuine chance yet, hidebound either by an inadequate test of stamina, inexperienced riders or opposition that has been far too deep. Given his excellent pedigree and that he’s trained by Tony Martin, I’ll persevere at 10/1. If he doesn’t get a run, I’ll chance the similarly well-named DON’TDOODDSON at 12/1, who knows this track like the back of his hand.


SPEREDEK is a sporting alternative to the very short-priced Tomorrow Mystery in the handicap hurdle at Taunton (2.05pm). Granted it has been slim pickings of late, and his barnstorming displays round Sandown and Ascot seem a distant memory, but he’s plummeted down the weights nearly two stone as a result. His run at Uttoxeter two starts ago, however, suggested he should still be just about competitive off this mark. What is more interesting, perhaps, is that he hasn’t run over this trip (his optimum) for over a year and has been consistently negatively ridden (possibly in view of the three breathing operations). My feeling is that, if allowed to get on with it around this sharp track, he might still be able to give them all a fright at 22/1.

ON TOUR is another old boy who might be able to roll back the years in the handicap chase (2.40pm). The front of the market looks a bit suspect here, with Pontresina winning a thin race last time and Irish Prophecy often flattering to deceive. The selection ran a fine race to finish fourth off this mark in the veterans’ final at Sandown last season and should be suited by conditions at 5/1.

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