Horses To Follow » Emma Jane

Emma Jane

Emma Jane put in an eye-catching performance in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park last Thursday.

The Lord Americo mare adopted a handy position on the inside just behind the front rank through the early stages of the race, but some indifferent jumping – in particular a slight nod at the last fence on the far side on the first circuit, when she stood off too far, which seemed to dent her confidence – saw her shuffled back through the pack as the pace increased. No better than 14th or 15th when they left the back straight for the final time, and still just 10th jumping the first fence in the home straight, she kept on really well over the last three fences to take fourth place.

This was only Emma Jane’s eighth start over fences, and she remains most progressive. She signed off last season by winning a decent three-mile handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival, and acquitted herself more than adequately in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown on her only previous start this term.

Interestingly, all four of her wins over hurdles or fences have been at right-handed tracks. Indeed, all of her runs over hurdles and all but one of her runs over fences have been at right-handed tracks, so it may be that trainer Willie Mullins feels that she has to go right. She has now only once finished out of the places in her six completed starts going right-handed over fences, and she could be one for the Fairyhouse or Punchestown festivals again this year. She handles soft ground, but the best run of her career before last Thursday was on good ground at Punchestown last April. She could easily be an Irish National horse. She is the right age for the race and her rating of 126 – she can’t go up too much for this run – would see her get into the race in a normal year in the low 10sts, which is ideal.

© The Irish Field, 31st January, 2009