Owner-trainer Barry Connell believes "all the boxes are ticked" for Espanito Bello ahead of his bid for glory in the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park.The nine-year-old has mixed it between fences and hurdles over the past couple of years, but it is over the larger obstacles where he has shown his best form – notably finishing second to Coko Beach in a Grade Two novice chase in 2021 before finishing down the field in the Irish Grand National.Last time out he was fifth in a two-mile-six-furlong hurdle race, meaning today's contest represents a return to fences as well as a step back up in trip to three miles and a furlong.Espanito Bello is likely to be suited by the soft going at Gowran and with confidence seemingly high, he has attracted significant support ahead of the €100,000 feature."He’s in good form.
He had a very good novice season and was second in a Grade Two, but he’s been lightly raced since so he’s come down the handicap ratings," said Connell."He’s in good form and we expect a big run from him on Thursday."Soft ground is what he wants, he needs heavy ground, even.
He has a nice weight and I think all of the boxes are ticked there, so we’re looking forward to a big run."Owner-trainer-breeder Robert Murphy has a leading contender in Darrens Hope – a nine-year-old last seen landing the Grade Two Florida Pearl Novice Chase by a head from Minella Crooner.With that victory registered in November, Murphy’s mare has enjoyed a freshening-up period ahead of her Thyestes bid off a weight of 10st 6lb, with Danny Mullins retaining the ride."She’s good, we jumped her on Tuesday and she jumped grand.Read more on rte.ie