It’s Shanahan’s Turn To Take The Topaz Chase
Monday’s Grade 1 Topaz Chase always attracts a strong gathering of the top staying novice chasers around, and this year’s is shaping up to be no different, with several eyecatching entries.
Amongst the entries a battalion of runners from Noel Meade, who won this race twice in the last 10 years, and could run the likes of Apache Stronghold. This 6yo won his chase debut over 2m4f and ran just as well in defeat over the same trip when beaten 8l by Valseur Lido in a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse a month ago (soft).
A couple of mistakes made the difference on that occasion and Apache Stronghold will need to improve if beating Valseur Lido, who himself is 2-2 over fences following that victory and is already around the 5/1 mark for Cheltenham’s JLT Novices’ Chase in March.
Mullins does have other entries, though, such as Don Poli, who impressed in winning his debut over 2m4f last month (heavy). It will be interesting to see if Mullins lets this 5yo take on the older runners, especially as that age-group struggled in this race since 2004…
Of the last 10 Topaz Chase winners…
10 were 6-7yo’s
10 won during their last three runs
10 won over fences
9 arrived via Fairyhouse or Punchestown
8 arrived via a Grade 1 or 2 race
8 stepped up half-a-mile from last time out
N Meade won it twice
Away from the power yards, Mouse Morris has several entered, including the 7yo, Rule The World, who was only just pipped on his chase debut by Adriana Des Mottes at Fairyhouse (2m5f, soft). He jumped well that day, and as a Grade 3 hurdles winner, has some class.
It’s worth noting, though, that each of the last 10 Topaz winners won over fences previously (unlike Rule The World), which points up the likes of Henry De Bromhead’s, Shanahan’s Turn.
This 6yo is already 2-2 over fences, and actually beat Wounded Warrior further than Dom Poli did on his debut at Punchestown in October (2m4f, good).
Shanahan’s Turn then confirmed that early promise by running out a comprehensive 4l winner of a quality Grade 2 contest at Punchestown last month (Lots Of Memories beaten 20l), and the stamina he showed over 2m6f (soft) will put him in good stead for Monday. The fact he arrives via Punchestown has also been a good omen for this race.
Ms Sandra Hughes’, The Tullow Tank, showed class as a Grade 1 winner over hurdles, and won his chase debut over 2m5f last month (beat Mala Beach 5l), but has a bit to prove after being beaten 22l by Valseur Lido in a Grade 1 last time.
A really top-class renewal awaits, and while both the Mullins and Meade runners are respected, it could be Henry De Bromhead’s, Shanahan’s Turn, who emerges on top. Impressive last time, he jumps superbly and could be very good.