Horses To Follow » Sempo


Sempo was impressive in winning his maiden hurdle over two miles and six furlongs. He was not unexpected, he was odds-on, but he still impressed in making all the running and staying on nicely. Joseph O’Brien’s horse had run well too on his previous outing to finish second behind Cobbler’s Way in a two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Settled just behind the leaders and along the inside by JJ Slevin that day, he got a little out-paced when they quickened on the run around to the second last flight. Only fifth on landing over that obstacle, he came under pressure and it didn’t look like he was going to get to Cobbler’s Way and The Big Getaway, but The Big Getaway made a mistake at the last and landed flat-footed. Sempo wasn’t great at it himself, but he picked up well on the run-in, ran down The Big Getaway and Francin for the runner-up spot, and he might have caught Cavalry Master in another 100 yards.

That was a good performance. It was a good step up on his hurdling debut at Fairyhouse in November, stepping up, as he was, from two miles to two and a half. There is lots of stamina in his pedigree, and he shaped as if he might appreciate another step up in trip. He was a classy bumper horse last season, he won his bumper at Thurles in February, and he finished sixth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, behind Envoi Allen, Blue Sari, Thyme Hill, Abacadabras and The Glancing Queen, in a race that is working out extremely well. He should progress again, and he could be a horse for the Albert Bartlett Hurdle or the Coral Cup.

Thurles, 6th February 2020