There are plenty of unexposed types in this three year old handicap but there will have to be something extremely well treated here to beat Joseph O’Brien’s Calidus Mirabilis. A winner on his last start at Dundalk over a mile on his first start after a gelding operation, he finds himself just five pounds higher here, while the step up to ten furlongs might well unlock some more improvement.
Throw in that jockey of the moment Ben Curtis rides and that Joseph has won with two out of his three runners in the UK since the start of the year and hopes are high that he can bag another winner here.
Sempo was an impressive winner here at Thurles on his third bumper start last February and now finds himself returning to Thurles for his third hurdles start. Sixth in last year’s Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, he clearly has plenty of ability and ran a fair race when third on his hurdles debut at Fairyhouse in November.
The two mile trip looked a bit short that day and he stepped up on that effort when staying on strongly for second over two and a half miles behind the very useful Cobbler’s Way at Leopardstown over Christmas. He was a massive eyecatcher that day and shaped like this extra trip would really suit. Minella Encore brings useful form to the table also but I will be disappointed if Sempo can’t win this and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him going to Cheltenham with a decent chance in something like the Martin Pipe handicap hurdle.
Fais Ton Chemin and Favori De Champdou are likely to head the market here but Run For Oscar could take a big step forward here after a decent debut at Leopardstown over Christmas. Very green when asked for his effort, he ran on really strongly when getting the hang of what was required of him and considering there were three previous winners in front of him, that could have been a very useful debut indeed.
Throw in that Charles Byrnes has won with his last two runners, including one in a bumper, and there a plenty of reasons to think he can make it three winners on the bounce.
Say It Simple is likely to head the market here but Youneverletmedown might be a bit of value to overturn the favourite. Say It Simple has form with a couple of really nice horses but hasn’t been seen since September and that lack of match practice might just catch her out here. Youneverletmedown was very well backed on her debut at Kempton over a mile, going off 7/2 favourite. On first glance at the form, you would be very disappointed with her 12th place finish over nine lengths behind the winner Queen Gamrah.
But watching the race, she broke smartly and travelled well on the lead before her stamina gave out and she weakened badly in the last furlong or so. She put it up to the winner for six furlongs or so and that winner is now rated 87. It was a far better effort than the finishing position suggested. On her second start over five furlongs here at Newcastle, she benefited from a strong pace when beating a couple of horses rated in the 80’s and nowhere was she stronger than at the finish. That run suggests the extra furlong here will really suit her and she has the potential to make up into a smart sprint handicapper.
Lucky 15 Summary
- Chelmsford 13.40 – Calidus Mirabilis
- Thurles 15.20 – Sempo
- Thurles 16.25 – Run For Oscar
- Newcastle 18.00 – Youneverletmedown