The second of the two day meeting at Thurles sees and all chase card take place, writes Martin Pennington
The Philip Byrne trained Moiqen was a useful horse on the flat in his younger days for Kevin Prendergast and he is taken to score at the third time of asking over fences with Davy Russell taking the mount for the first time. Moiqen has experience on this sort of ground before and was beaten only 10 ½ lengths on his chasing debut at Clonmel in December prior to running well when fourth to Beeverstown over Christmas. He was ridden by Matthew Bowes in those two races and the booking of the champion jockey is a notable pointer to his chances in what looks on paper a relatively weak race.
Philip Rothwell’s Mark Me Up makes his handicap debut over fences here off a mark 12lbs lower than which he is rated over hurdles. He’s been running against some useful types over fences and though he’s never been sighted thus far the winners of two of his Beginners Chases have been top handicap hurdler Alderwood and Graded winner Marito. Mark Me Up showed that he can still be competitive off his higher hurdles mark at Fairyhouse last month when an 4 length fourth over 2 miles. He’s run well in three of his four starts over hurdles at this track finishing runner-up on his most recent start here over the smaller obstacles back in January 2012 whilst he has garnered some course experience over fences when finishing behind Marito here in November.
Madam Bovary is taken to score in this Mares Novices Chase for trainer Jessie Harrington. Madam Bovary is a consistent mare and she gained her just reward at Punchestown last time out when staying on strongly to beat Toon River and Toostrong and she tackles 3m for the first time under rules here. She’s always shaped like a stayer though and won a point-to-point at Maralin prior to going under rules.
Wise Oscar is the proverbial handicap good thing here back over fences having proven successful over hurdles last week at Fairyhouse off a 5lb higher mark. He’s been put up 17lbs for that success and prior to that he himself had chased home a handicap blot in Bog Warrior at the same track back in December. Bryan Cooper retains the ride here and Wise Oscar seems to have improved for the switch to Dessie Hughes yard with those two runs being his only starts for the Kildare based handler.
Carry Each Other has shown promise so far on his four outings over fences, most recently when fourth over a marathon trip at Punchestown earlier this month on his handicap debut. Prior to that he was placed behind the useful Vesper Bell over 3 miles in a Beginners Chase at the same track. Carry Each Other was a useful pointer having placed in Open company and won a winners race at Leadington prior to being sent under rules and though it’s taken time for him to come good I expect his class to see him through here.
Letterlee Star came back to form at Punchestown last time out when runner-up to Popaflora over 2 1/2m on heavy. Letterlee Star shaped as if a return to further might suit and this will come as no surprise given that he won a 3m Handicap Hurdle at Clonmel back in March whilst he’s shown decent course form here over hurdles when runner-up to Betterthanalright over 2m 6f off today’s mark back in March 2012 whilst just over three years ago he was successful in a 2m 6f Handicap Hurdle here. He’s still relatively lightly raced over fences and will be having his seventh start here with David Splaine (who rode him last time) again in the saddle today.