Easter Monday test to decide Jamesie plans

An Easter Monday assignment in Cork is next on the agenda for David Marnane’s much-travelled stable star Jamesie and a successful outing could spell a trip to Singapore for the KrisFlyer Sprint.

The plans for the now seven-year-old, just back from his latest sojourn in Dubai, were outlined yesterday at a media visit to Marnane’s stables in Bansha, Tipperary, when the forthcoming season at Tipperary Racecourse was also formally launched.

So far in his career for owner Damian Lavelle and family, Jamesie has earned €300,000, not bad for a horse that cost £11,000 at the Goffs Kempton Breeze-Up Sale in 2010.

He had a “mixed” time this year in Dubai, a fourth place finish the best of his three races unlike last year when he managed a win at the Meydan track, but is now looking “in great shape,” according to his trainer.

Jamesie’s first start on Irish soil will be the Cork Stakes on Easter Monday, when he will have a 5lb penalty for winning the group 3 Renaissance Stakes at The Curragh last year.

“It will be a strong contest,” David Marnane admitted yesterday while some of his charges paraded in his yard. “We have a view to running him in Singapore but he would need to show up in Cork.

“That’s what we’d like but he’s got to run really well down in Cork.”

Also back from Dubai was Emperor Bob, who actually chipped a bone while in the middle east enforcing his return, but was described as “a nice prospect” by the trainer while another three-year-old, Hi Emperor is “a big, raw baby still, currently rated in the low-80s but a horse that could be “a good bit better than that”.

Octavia had “a messy two-year-old season” but has delighted the connections over the winter and looks on a “fair” handicap mark. “She’s a lovely filly,” her trainer said yesterday.

Others paraded before the media at the Bansha yard and gallops included Ellavel; Laharde (“an exciting prospect”); Sheeba (“he’s probably off a mark of about 80, he’s better than that”); and Seanie who is also a veteran of the Dubai scene and will be aimed at the Heritage Stakes in Leopardstown next month before being targeted at one of the seven-furlong races in Haydock in May.

Marnane, who spent nine-and-a-half years in Dubai with his wife before returning to Bansha to set up the now-flourishing training establishment, currently has about 35 horses in his ranks and said yesterday he’s lucky to be close to a racecourse as fair and competitive as Tipperary, which runs the first of its 2015 meetings on April 9.

This year Tipperary will host a new national hunt meeting on April 17, making it 12 days out at the venue between now and October.

Highlights of the jumps outings this year include the Grade 3 Kevin McManus Bookmakers Grimes Hurdle, worth €62,500; the Grade 2 Istabraq Hurdle (€52,500), the Grade 3 Like a Butterfly Novice Steeplechase (€30,000) and the Grade 3 Dolores Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle (€30,000).

Flat features include listed races the Excelebration Tipperary Stakes; the Kilfrush Stud Abergwaun Stakes and the Coolmore Stud Canford Cliffs Stakes as well as the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Fairy Bridge Stakes worth €65,000.

Course manager Andrew Hogan said the season looks like being “very positive” and pointed out that recent years have seen Leading Light winning his maiden at Tipperary before going on to win the St Leger and the Ascot Gold Cup, as well as runs by national hunt stars Rebel Fitz, Arctic Fire and Wicklow Brave, among others.


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