Ruby Walsh: Riven Light’s a shot in the dark but Blazer’s a player in the Kerry National

From Seoul to Listowel - Ruby Walsh gives us the lowdown on Willie Mullins' assault on the Keeneland Korea Cup on Sunday and Kerry National next week


The Keeneland Korea Cup in Seoul is an invitational race and Riven Light has been asked to run. He was great when posting consecutive wins in the Mile Premier Handicap at Galway carrying 10st 1lb last month after a long lay-off with injury.

The contest is over 1m 1f on a deep sand surface and they say it’s quite hard work. However, Willie Mullins’ gallops are quite deep and he handles them. David Casey’s gone over with him and is very happy with how he’s traveled. All the advice we got was to get a local rider to ride him so Korean jockey Jo Sung Gon has been booked to ride.

It’s an advantage having local knowledge, just understanding the pace, the speed they go at, the undulations of the track. Having a guy that’s riding there the whole time, we should be able to overcome any issues and hopefully he can do the job for us.

There’s almost €770K up for grabs – a huge pot compared to any races he’d be running in Europe – so it’s well worth the journey.

It would be super for Willie to have another big winner in the Far East. He trained (and I rode) Blackstairmountain to win the Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan for the Ricci’s, (who also own Riven Light) back in 2013.

The Korean race hasn’t been going that long but any time you can travel abroad and win is great.


Listowel next week …

We’ve a big race of our own next Wednesday with the Kerry National at the seven-day Listowel Festival.

Willie has four entries and they should all line up provided the ground is safe enough.  If you look back to the Galway Festival, the horse with the outstanding run there was Blazer who finished second in the Galway Hurdle. Three miles over fences is a different test for him, but you’d have to think he’ll be very competitive.

Townshend will love the step up in trip at Listowel while Haymount made a bad mistake in the Galway Plate and ran much better there on the following Sunday. Saturnas didn’t have much luck at Ballybrit and missed the break in the Plate, and also made a bad mistake in his Sunday run.

The four of them should run all being well, but taking the Galway form, Blazer should have an outstanding chance there.

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