Simenon will be strongly fancied to graduate successfully from the novice ranks in the Friday Evening Racing Hurdle at Cork this evening.
An impressive winner over course and distance in January, Simenon has since acquitted himself well in graded company, although he flopped in the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham, when trailing in last of nineteen behind Cinders And Ashes.
Runner up to the classy Trifolium in a Grade 2 at Punchestown prior to his Cheltenham trip, the five-year-old Marju gelding returned to finish third behind Alderwood and Trifolium in the Grade 1 Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.
Rated 140, Simenon steps out of novice company for the first time tonight, when he faces the likes of battle-hardened Won In The Dark, which returned to winning form when getting the better of Flycorn in Killarney two weeks ago, and the Dermot Weld-trained New Phase, a course and distance winner back in November.
But the Willie Mullins-trained Simenon looks capable of making the transition and gets the vote.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Beachdale Lad, a point-to-point winner at four, has bumped into a couple of decent novices in his recent starts and looks capable of opening his account in the three-mile Friday July 13th BBQ Maiden Hurdle.
The five-year-old Carroll House gelding ran a cracker when trying to concede 12lb. to subsequent Punchestown Festival winner Loch Ard at Gowran Park in March and, last time, came off second best against odds-on favourite Terminal at Down Royal.
Stepping up in trip, Tommy Treacy’s mount should prove tough to beat, with Patrick Prendergast’s Wandering Aengus the biggest threat.
Earlier, the long-absent Raise The Beat should be worth noting in the corkracecourse.ie Maiden Hurdle.
Winner of bumpers at Down Royal and Naas, Colm Murphy's charge hasn't been seen since finishing twenty-second behind Cheltenian in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in Cheltenham last year.
If the market speaks in his favour, Raise The Beat should prevail.
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