Powerful Irish owners Gigginstown House Stud have a fine record in the Boomerang Chase with four wins since 2008.
That makes sole representative Balko Des Flos well worth a wager in the feature 2m 6f Listed contest at Thurles this Thursday (12:50).
Trained by Henry De Bromhead, the eight-year-old enjoyed his finest hour in 2018 when lowering the colours of Un De Sceaux in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Earlier that same season, the son of Balko landed the ultra-competitive Galway Plate over this trip. Although he didn’t get his head in front last term, he still ran some solid races in defeat.
They include when a four-length third to Min in the Grade 1 John Durkan at Punchestown and when losing second close home in the 3m 1f Betway Bowl behind Kemboy during Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
Balko Des Flos is entitled to come on for his reappearance run in a Grade 3 where he was a weakening fourth around Punchestown.
The way he has shaped in recent outings suggest this two-and-three-quarter miles trip is his optimum.
Although only seventh when attempting to defend his Ryanair crown in the spring, Balko Des Flos still finished in front of the re-opposing Footpad. A further ease in grade is also a plus.
Main market rival Footpad remains on the comeback trail and there are concerns about him staying the Boomerang Chase distance.
With Rachael Blackmore once again aboard, Balko Des Flos is 9/4 with SportNation to resume winning ways.
Mala Beach each-way value for Boomerang Chase
If Footpad rediscovers his scintillating novice form and gets the trip, then he is obviously feared.
However, elder statesman Mala Beach absolutely bolted up on his Irish point debut a couple of weeks ago.
The 11-year-old son of Beneficial won by a distance from Cappacurry Zac, who went on to go down by a head next time up.
Mala Beach is only rated 4lb below his peak under Rules and clearly in good heart. This veteran has a win and place ratio of 60 per cent in chases from 15 starts.
A former Troytown Handicap winner, Mala Beach fell in the Boomerang Chase four years ago. Trainer Gordon Elliott has saddled two previous race victors – both for Gigginstown.
With Jetz carrying a 10lb penalty and being rated 7lb inferior, Mala Beach appeals most each-way at 9/1 with William Hill.
The field is completed by Oh Me Oh My, who has a mountain to climb on official figures.
Footpad is opposed, meanwhile, because he broke blood vessels in the Ryanair and has a mixed record first time up.
That crop of novice chasers from the season before last have also been disappointing with rivals like Brain Power and Petit Mouchoir reverting back to hurdles.
It makes Footpad worth taking on despite short odds of 8/13 with BetVictor for the Boomerang Chase.
Good Thyme Tara taken for winning chase bow
One Willie Mullins horse that is fancied, however, is Good Thyme Tara in the 2m 2f beginners chase for mares that opens proceedings (12:15). She brings leading hurdles form claims into this new sphere.
Although going over fences relatively late in her career aged nine, handler Mullins recently scored chase debut success with another yard veteran in Faugheen.
Good Thyme Tara won Listed and Grade 3 hurdle contests against her own sex over this trip and further last season. That stands her in good stead for this.
She then went on to finish third in both Grade 1 races for mares at Cheltenham and Punchestown. That sets a clear standard as none of her 10 rivals have form like that to match.
Provided she takes to chasing, then this is a race for Good Thyme Tara to lose. Jockey Paul Townend is on a 21 per cent strike rate in the last fortnight in the saddle.
Mullins, meanwhile, boasts an even healthier return of 31 per cent winners in the same period at the time of writing.
With yielding ground no problem and a decent record fresh, Good Thyme Tara is 8/11 with Paddy Power to win her chase bow.
Royal Thief can follow-up on Boomerang Chase day
Gigginstown and De Bromhead have leading claims of a double on the card courtesy of course and distance winner Royal Thief in the 2m 7f rated novice hurdle (13:25).
This five-year-old Fame And Glory gelding showed stamina when staying on well for a 1 1/4 lengths victory here a fortnight ago. He justified favoritism when produced to lead inside the final 100 yards by Blackmore.
The third horse home, Shanwalla, has since run well when filling the same spot in a competitive Intermediate Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham at the weekend. That means the form isn’t too shabby.
Royal Thief is also open to plenty of further improvement after just four starts under Rules and two over timber. He is 9/4 with Ladbrokes to follow-up on his victory here.
Mullins has two engaged against Royal Thief. Allez Dance, like Footpad, represents owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede but – despite powerful connections – goes markedly up in trip and is only one from 11 over hurdles.
Think Positive, meanwhile, is one from eight and didn’t seem to get home over 3m when dropping to third at Cork last month.
There are reasons to take on Mullins’ pair, then, with the main danger looking like the Jessica Harrington trained Silver Sheen.