There may only be four runners in the Clonmel Oil Chase – but when the lowest-rated has a mark of 159, racegoers look sure to be treated to a classy affair.
Top-rated is Joseph O’Brien’s Fakir d’Oudairies, runner-up in the Ryanair at Cheltenham to Allaho and easy winner of the Melling Chase at the Grand National meeting.
Willie Mullins runs two, Easy Game and Royal Rendezvous – both rated 161 and separated by just a length when they were first and second in the Galway Plate.
Gordon Elliott’s Hardline completes the field, having been half a length behind Royal Rendezvous in the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran recently and now 5lb better off.
Patrick Mullins, assistant trainer to his father, finds it as hard as the handicapper to split the pair from Closutton.
He said: “They are rated the same, they finished very close in the Galway Plate and then they got rather too close at Gowran as poor Easy Game got knocked over.
“It’s a really good race, any of the four could win and on the figures there’s not a lot between them – there’s nothing in it and it’s a proper Grade Two.
“When you get four horses as good as these four you should get a very interesting race. To get four horses as good as these four at Clonmel on a Thursday, I imagine Clonmel are delighted with that.
“Easy Game wouldn’t want the ground too tacky, he’s a real good ground horse whereas Royal Rendezvous can handle softer ground a bit better – that’s about the only difference.”