Siege aims to master Gowran rivals
Dessie Hughes is confident of a bold show from Siegemaster in the Connolly's Red Mills Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park.
The 10-year-old had his limitations exposed when well beaten in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas but takes a marked drop in class into handicap company.
Just as he did when finishing third in the race last year, the gelding is forced to concede weight all round to his rivals, but Hughes still expects him to run a big race.
"He's in good form and has the same weight he carried last year when he ran a blinder to finish third," said Hughes.
"Whinstone Boy won it last year and we meet him again, but we gave him nearly two stone that day and we're a lot better off at the weights this time. He should run another good race."
Hughes also declared recent Naas second Ten Fires for the race, but he is currently the first reserve.
The trainer added: "I would have liked to have run him but it looks like he's going to miss out, unfortunately. Hopefully something might come out and if he does get a run, he'd have an each-way chance as he gets three miles well."
Eighteen runners are set to go to post for the three-mile handicap, which has been postponed until Saturday having been due to be run on Thursday, with champion trainer Willie Mullins declaring The Midnight Club, Ballytrim and Pomme Tiepy.
Whinstone Boy's trainer Jimmy Mangan admits his charge faces a much stiffer task this time around off a 20lb higher mark, but still expects him to give a good account of himself.
Mangan said: "He's in good form and we were delighted with his run in Tramore the other day where he finished third to a good horse (Barker). It will be a good test of stamina and I'm expecting a big run from him. We'll be delighted if he runs into the first four."