Sensational Limerick win on the cards for Ruby
SENSATIONAL SEMA is Ruby Walsh's sole booked mount on today's moderate Limerick card, and the Tony Martin-trained runner is fancied to make his journey worthwhile provided the track survives an early inspection.
The eight-year-old tackles a 13-runner three-mile chase that lacks depth, though Ponmeword would have a chance of recording its first ever win for local handler Eric McNamara if he can find that little bit extra that seems to so often desert him.
Sensational Sema, however, appeals as a robust option under his peerless rider. A 'point' winner that landed a Killarney hurdle off 103, he has been racing over trips short of his best recently.
When keeping on for third over two and a half miles on his seasonal bow at Punchestown, he was competing beyond two and a quarter miles for a first time since he obliged over two and three quarter miles in Kerry last year.
The net result is that Sensational Sema has a favourable handicap mark of 97.
That represents a two-pound increase for his Punchestown outing, but, over a more suitable trip and with the benefit of the run, he strikes as a solid nap choice.
In the following handicap chase over two miles and three furlongs, Andrew McNamara is another expected to make his only ride of the day pay.
McNamara partners Dog Barrel Hill for Bandon-based James Dullea, a horse that he won a maiden hurdle on here last Christmas -- the only other time that he has ridden him.
Over an extended three miles on its first start of the season at Punchestown, Dog Barrel Hill seemed not to fully stay, so this drop in trip should suit.
Champion jockey Davy Russell can get one on the board when he partners recent facile point-to-point victor Francis Street for Denis Murphy in the mares' maiden hurdle, while John Joe Walsh's Big Jemmy is expected to take all the beating in the amateur riders' hurdle.
Ambrose McCurtain's mount, a course and distance winner, ran encouragingly when second over fences at Tramore first time up. Average progress should see him collect.