This is a listed race where you know nearly all of the runners as some of them seem to have been around for years. The likes of Gordon Lord Byron and Maarek have competed at the highest level and it would be nice to see one of them bounce back to form in this.
However the younger brigade of sprinters just seem to have the legs on them at the minute so the nod goes to Alphabet. This daughter of Lawman has been kept busy and must be showing no ill effects from an ordinary run at Chantilly behind Battash for Aidan to pitch her in here. Some of her form is tip top and a reproduction of her run behind Carvaggio is good enough to win here. The danger is the favourite who is still on the upgrade Son Of Rest.
Navan plays host to the Irish Cesarewitch and there are some familiar names from the jumping scene involved – both equine and human. Willie Mullins has won this race for the last two years and his horse Gustavus Vassa races for the first time for him, having previously been with Andy Oliver.
The Highclere thoroughbreds are the new owners so they will be hoping for a bold show. The trip should bring out plenty of improvement and this very lightly raced sort has to be involved. English trainers have a very good record with runners in big Irish flat handicaps and Brian Ellison has already won this race in 2013.
His horse Nietzsche has some good jumps form to his name and if he can translate that to the flat he is another who will be involved. Abyssinian has no jockey lined up, which could mean it’s a non runner. But if it runs I would be very keen on backing it!
The other one I like is Ted Veale, I know he is 10 but he’s guaranteed to handle conditions and comes here in great form. My idea of the 1st four home is:
2/ Ted Veale
4/ Gustavus Vassa
This is a valuable prize for mares and the weights are headed by likely fav Dixie Lee. She delivered the goods in style at Down Royal when beating useful yardstick Delayed Eloquence by two lengths.
That same horse was beaten by five lengths by my selection Lakemilan at Cork and since then Lakemilan has run a blinder at Listowel behind Highland Fling, Dixie Lee is the main danger though.
The JT McNamara Munster National is a trappy little contest which could all boil down to the weather as some of these will really want the heavens to open. Limerick is a quick track and some horses just can’t cope with it. When it gets soft though, it becomes manageable.
Barry Geraghty will be delighted to be back in the saddle this week but he cant have enjoyed having to pick between all of the JP runners here. Riviera Sun has course-winning form on slow ground and with only 10 4lbs on his back he may well not have been one of his picks anyway but could still go well for Henry De Bromhead and JP McManus.
JP would dearly love to win this and it is no surprise that he has so may throws at it. Rock On Fruity is another who will love the race. ridden by a useful lad, good value for his claim in Donal McInerney. Barry Geraghty will not want to miss out here and it is interesting that he rides Slowmotion who he hasn’t ridden for a little while.
Willie Mullins amd Ruby Walsh have to be feared in events like this especially with a horse that is having its first run for the yard in Total Recall. This is a tough one to call but my idea of the four home are:
1/ Rock On Fruity
4/ Alpha des Obeaux
Keep your eyes on Alpha, he is always better for his first run of the season.