Friday 3 May

Coyle eyes major prizes with leading Vickers.Bet Thirsk Hunt Cup fancy Thunder Roar

Coyle eyes major prizes with leading Vickers.Bet Thirsk Hunt Cup fancy Thunder Roar


Tony Coyle has significant targets in mind as Thunder Roar bids to open his account for the year in the Vickers.Bet Thirsk Hunt Cup (2.40pm), highlight of Thirsk Hunt Cup Day on Saturday, May 4.


Thunder Roar has made the frame in all three starts so far this season for Coyle and co-trainer Kaine Wood, most recently finishing strongly to take third in a mile handicap at Leicester last weekend.


The five-year-old did not enjoy the rub of the green in the Spring Mile at Doncaster on his penultimate start, in which he met interference and went down by half a length to Gemma Tutty’s Look Back Smiling.

Coyle said: “Thunder Roar has come out of Leicester in good order and I hope the forecast rain arrives, as the softer the ground the better for him – he absolutely loves it.

“He has been running consistently well during the spring and it is hard to knock him. This looks a very competitive race, but he is handicapped to win a race like this.

“This will be his last run for a while as we are putting him out to grass for a month. We need to get him up in the handicap because the long-term plan is the Cambridgeshire and then the Lincoln next year. He needs to be winning on Saturday if we want to go that route with him.

“I think he will stay the nine furlongs of the Cambridgeshire all day long. He was staying on like hell at Leicester, which is a very stiff mile. He is a grand horse and I wish I had 10 more like him.”

Northern Express bids to continue Michael Dods’ excellent record in the Vickers.Bet Thirsk Hunt Cup. The six-year-old became the trainer’s third winner of the mile handicap 12 months ago, following Finn Class in 2016 and Osteopathic Remedy in 2010.

Northern Express has a 9lb higher mark to overcome after a string of good efforts in 2023, including a handicap success at York and a third in the Buckingham Palace Handicap at Royal Ascot.

Dods said: “Northern Express has come out of his fifth at the Craven meeting well. There is rain forecast and hopefully Thirsk does not get too much of it because he is better on nice ground.

“The big question is that he is higher in the handicap this time around. If there are improving young horses coming through, it will be hard for a horse of his age to stop them.

“He has done plenty of improving himself and always runs well in those big handicaps, whether it is Ascot, Thirsk or York. Whatever happens, I am sure he will run another good race.”

Northern Express is not the only former winner in the 16-strong field, with the Dianne Sayer-trained Redarna aiming to repeat the heroics that saw him defy odds of 66/1 in 2022.

Jon and Julia Aisbitt’s colours were carried to victory by Storting in 2021 and the owner-breeders have another leading contender in Hiromichi, who made it two wins from his last three starts for Jack Channon in a mile handicap at Ripon last weekend.

La Trinidad heads six runners in the race making their first appearance of 2024. Roger Fell & Sean Murray’s contender made the frame in similar contests at Doncaster and Redcar in the autumn.

Last year’s runner-up Pisanello attempts to go one better for David O’Meara, having also finished third in 2022. He is joined by stable-mate Mirsky, who makes his first appearance for the yard after recording four victories in France for Freddy and Victoria Head.

Tim Easterby is double handed with Quest For Fun, who was fourth on his return at Musselburgh last month, and Cruyff Turn, while Ann Duffield saddles Master Richard, the winner of a valuable handicap at York’s Ebor Festival in 2022.

Charlie Hills is represented by Racingbreaks Ryder, who finished midfield on his return in Newbury’s Spring Cup. Autumn Festival (Ed de Giles), Bajan Bandit (Grant Tuer), Eilean Dubh (Karl Burke) and Titan Rock (John & Sean Quinn) complete the field.

Vickers.Bet sponsors six of the seven races on the card, with the action getting underway at 1.40pm.

Vickers.Bet Thirsk Hunt Cup – Vickers prices:

11/2 Northern Express, Thunder Moar

6/1 Hiromichi

8/1 La Trinidad

9/1 Pisanello

10/1 Quest For Fun

11/1 Look Back Smiling

14/1 Racingbreaks Ryder

16/1 Master Richard

18/1 Autumn Festival, Redarna, Titan Rock

20/1 Cruyff Turn, Mirsky

22/1 Bajan Bandit, Eilean Dubh

EW 1/4 1,2,3,4

For further information, please contact:

Erin Boswell

General Commercial Manager