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Teenager Newmill to upset young guns

In-house racing supremo Mark Hobbs offers his thoughts on today’s Shamrock Paddy Chase at Gowran Park today.

Robert Michael Power on Newmill in Leopardstown in 2008 - Newmill is fancied to take victory in the Shamrock Paddy Chase at Gowran Park today.
Robert Michael Power on Newmill in Leopardstown in 2008 - Newmill is fancied to take victory in the Shamrock Paddy Chase at Gowran Park today.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

With Cheltenham just around the corner, it’s heart-warming to see a former champion of Prestbury Park fighting off the lure of retirement in a grassy field and chasing more racecourse success.

The 2006 Champion Chase winner Newmill will not have such a lofty target this year, but the thirteen year-old has a chance to add to his twelve career victories at Gowran today in the Shamrock Paddy Chase over two miles.

Once rated at a high of 174, the teenager now races off a seemingly feasible mark of 147. Having been switched to the care of James Daniel Dullea, Newmill has run three fine races in defeat this term.

His half length defeat to Sublimity in Cork on his seasonal bow confirmed he had trained on after an absence of almost a year. His subsequent fourth place in a Grade Two in Thurles carrying a penalty was a very respectable effort, and it tells us the old-timer isn’t quite ready to pack the game in just yet.

While it will certainly be a challenge off top weight in soft ground; the field he must defeat is underwhelming considering the purse of 24,375 euro on offer. The bottom two horses in the handicap, the Sneezer and Just Friends, are both looking to complete a three-timer; but neither are world beaters and both have been hit by the handicapper.

Competition

Paul Cashman’s Idarah could be one of the challengers to make an impression at a decent price. While his trainer is not prolific in sending out winners, his charge is well-in on his current mark when his form while trained in England is taken into account. While running for Michael Quinlan the gelding ran Pasco to six lengths, and that horse is running very competitively off 147 now.

Idarah’s mark of 124 could be very generous if he gets his jumping together, and reproduce something like the form that saw him finish second in a Listowel handicap last September. While it’s not always telling; the booking of Paul Carberry may hint that a good run is expected. The forecast odds of 8/1 are tempting.

Elsewhere on the card, the Great Oak Maiden Hurdle looks at the mercy of Sicilian Secret. Willie Mullins will be surprised that a horse so talented is still a maiden, especially as the gelding has considered highly enough to have gone off 9/1 in the 2009 Champion Bumper in Cheltenham.

While his winless streak stretches back seven races to his debut, the level of form he has to offer far surpasses anything else in the field. Unless the markets speak negatively before the race, Sicilian Secret should add another winner to the champion trainer’s tally.

Verdict

Newmill is certainly not the force of old, but he retains a lot of ability and his form this term shows that he still has something of offer. His handicap mark is feasible, and he looks a good each-way bet at odds of around 6/1. Idarah could be his biggest threat if he gets his jumping together under Paul Carberry.

Paul Townsend has a good chance of notching a 71st winner of the season on Sicilian Secret. Anything around even money would be acceptable for a horse that seems to be a class above his rivals.

About the author:

Mark Hobbs

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