*Martin Brassil at The Curragh. Photograph: Patrick McCann
“A GREAT TRAINING PERFORMANCE” by Newmarket-on-Fergus’ Martin Brassil has been hailed following the feature Thyestes Chase at Gowran on Thursday won by Longhouse Poet.
Longhouse Poet held off Franco De Port in an exciting conclusion to the feature Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park. He finished three-quarters of a length clear of Franco De Port, with 11-1 shot Mister Fogpatches claiming third ahead of Diol Ker.
Viewed as a notable contender from the outset, Longhouse Poet was guided by Darragh O’Keeffe to claim the €60,000 pot. “He was gutsy when he had to be,” O’Keeffe stated. “I saw enough at Limerick on his first start to fill me with confidence as I thought he ran well for a long way. We hoped the ground would be as bad as it could be for him, as he deals with those conditions. This has been the target for a long time and it was logical after his run at Limerick. It was a great training performance from Martin”.
The eight year old was introduced at 33-1 by Paddy Power for the Randox Grand National at Aintree on April 9.
It marks Brassil’s first win in the prestigious handicap since Numbersixvalverde scored in 2005. Prior to the race, the Newmarket-on-Fergus native has twelve winners from just 55 runners this term, a strike rate of 22 percent which ranks above previous achievements.
Speaking before the race, Martin outlined, “The Thyestes Chase is a fabulous race”. He continued “There’s no hiding place in it. It’s a good, tough, gruelling, three-mile chase. The best horse always wins. There’s no hard-luck stories”.
January has always proven to be a successful period for Brassil, Daragh Ó Conchúir noted. It’s forty five years since Martin began working for Curragh trainer Mick O’Toole, twenty eight since he saddled his first runner as a conditioner and seventeen since he saddled Numbersixvalverde to win the Goffs Thyestes Chase under 19-year-old Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden, who remains the only amateur pilot to win the historic contest.
Brassil’s success is the latest highpoint for Newmarket-on-Fergus men in the horse racing world. An Forghas trained, bred and ridden by James Conheady was a memorable 125/1 winner at the closing day of the Christmas races in Limerick.