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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Panther in Thyestes huntHeadlines
Paul Nolan

Panther Claw could bid for glory in the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park on Thursday after making a successful handicap debut at Punchestown last week.

Trainer Paul Nolan is considering running the seven-year-old fairly quickly in this valuable handicap over three miles and a furlong.

"Panther Claw is a dour stayer and looking at the way the forecast is, the ground is going to be very testing," said the County Wexford handler.

"He looks like a horse who wants four miles, but this race just might come a bit too soon for him. In a big race like this, there are times when you take a chance. If you are right you are a hero and if you're wrong, you're told you should not have run.

"We'll just see what happens. At the moment we are ticking him along. He's not done much because it was only a week or so ago since he ran and it was a dour test on heavy ground. It is coming a bit quick but at the end of the day, it is a big pot and you're a hero if you call it right."

Nolan intends to run his other entry Sweeney Tunes, who also carries the colours of Panther Claw's owners the Gigginstown House Stud.

"He has a stiff enough handicap mark for winning a beginners chase in Thurles and we'll see where we go with him. The plan will be for him to run," he said.

Twenty-seven horses remain in the Thyestes, with the weights headed by Call The Police. His trainer Willie Mullins is also responsible for three other possibles - ante-post favourite Bishopsfurze, Shakervilz and Sweet My Lord.

Conditions are certain to be testing, but clerk of the course Paddy Graffin said: "Everything is perfectly OK. Obviously we have wintry conditions going right into Thursday, but the track is fit to race.

"The ground is very heavy and is pretty deep now like it has been everywhere else. I'd like it to be better than that, but I don't think it will be. We will monitor things between now and Thursday but at the moment things are fine, though the ground is testing."

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