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Preview: Clonmel Oil Chase

3 minute read

Dual Ryanair Chase hero Allaho will make his eagerly anticipated return in the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase on Thursday.

Allaho and groom Dermot Keeling pictured on the gallops at Champion Trainer Willie Mullins yard ahead of the new National Hunt Season.
Allaho and groom Dermot Keeling pictured on the gallops at Champion Trainer Willie Mullins yard ahead of the new National Hunt Season. Picture: Pat Healy Photography

The Willie Mullins -trained gelding has not been seen on the track since securing an easy fourteen length victory in the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup in April 2022, marking a fourth straight success at Graded level. He has been a revelation since switching to fences, recording seven victories from twelve outings, amassing prize money of over £700,000.

"Allaho has been fantastic for us, winning a couple of Ryanairs, a Punchestown Gold Cup and a John Durkan. It's great to see him back and hopefully he can show us that he's back to his best," said Richard Thompson, director of Cheveley Park Stud.

"He's nine turning 10 in January, he's been one of the stalwarts from the bunch of jumps horses we bought and hopefully we'll still have some good days with him.

"He's been off the track since April 2022, a good year and a half, so it will be fascinating to see him back and we'll see how he gets on.

"Before he got injured last season we hoped he might be a three-time winner of the Ryanair and hopefully still can be."

It is worth noting that when returning from a break of 200 days or more, Allaho has been beaten on three of the four occasions.

Mouse Morris' French Dynamite is one of three rivals in the contest, with some fair Graded form over fences last season. A winner of a Thurles hurdles race on seasonal reappearance last year, the eight-year-old finished runner up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup before placing second in the Grade 2 Horse & Jockey Hotel at Thurles behind Fakir D'oudairies. His form is not up to the same standard as the Willie Mullins' pair, but he remains a solid performer in this kind of contest.

Although liable to the occasional jumping error – the gelding was six lengths ahead when falling at the final fence in the Grade 2 Fairyhouse Chase on his final start of last season – the Willie Mullins-trained Janadil tends to go well fresh and boasts the contrasting statistic to Allaho. He has won three of his four starts returning after a break of 200 days or more, although his one defeat came when runner-up to the same rival in the Grade 1 John Durkan Memoral Chase at Punchestown in December 2021.

Although Janadil has proven inferior to Allaho when the pair have met in recent years, the nine-year-old's record fresh makes plenty of appeal, especially with his illustrious stablemate returning from a long absence cause by injury.


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