The Kerry National 4.20pm is the feature race on a big day at Listowel and as usual has an ultra-competitve look about it. Unfortunately, I’m going to be out for the next couple of weeks as there’s still very deep bruising in the bones of all my ribs and around my back and I’ll just have to wait until it’s right.
Paul Townend has made Saturnas his pick of Willie Mullins’ runners and has a chance. He missed the break in the Galway Plate and never got into the race as Clarcam led everyone a merry dance at Ballybrit.
With a little more luck he could have finished second there on the Sunday, except he was almost brought down at the second last and then nearly fell at the last, when fifth to Sub Lieutenant. The rain and the extra couple of furlongs of the Kerry National should suit him.
Danny Mullins rides Haymount, but I’m not certain really soft ground suits him. I’ve been saying that there’s a big handicap chase in him for a while, but he has been a little frustrating.
Townshend should handle the ground and the step up to 3m will really suit him as his best run in a long time came over 2m 4f at this track last May.
JP McManus’ Blazer put in a great run when second to Sharjah in the Galway Hurdle and also posted a very good run in a handicap chase at Fairyhouse when fourth to Bel Ami de Sivola at Easter. He was second in a beginners chase over 3m, but he’s yet to win over that distance. JP McManus’ runner is off a nice mark with a good weight and the only unknown is the 3m trip.
His Galway Hurdle run stands out on form. If he sees out the trip he’d be the pick of our runners.
Jury Duty carries joint top-weight with Peregrine Run. However, I‘m not sure Gordon Elliot’s runner has the pace to get into a good position around Listowel. He looks more of a Troytown Chase at Navan or Irish Grand National type to me.
The ground is an issue for Peregrine Run also and so is a disappointing run over hurdles the last time.
Noel Meade’s Snow Falcon made a bad mistake at the first in the Galway Plate, but was a big eye-catcher when eventually staying on really well to finish fourth. He has a big, big chance as he was as good, if not better, than most of these over hurdles.
Henry de Bromhead’s A Rated put in a cracking run behind Kemboy at Punchestown and was just caught in the shadow of the post when he looked the winner at Galway. His one run at Listowel was disappointing and that leaves a question mark over his chances.
Shantou Village was very decent over hurdles and has dropped down the handicap over fences. Trainer Neill Mullholland’s string are flying in the UK, so he has a chance.
Slowmotion was well fancied for the Galway Plate but never got into it. A bit like Jury Duty, he might want a stiffer track than Listowel. Bishops Road looks to gallop along in soft ground – I just wonder is he fast enough?
David Pipe’s Dell’ Arca was a very good horse in his day. He then lost his way but could be coming back to himself and he’s posted a couple of wins over hurdles aswell as on the Flat. I can’t image the Pipe team are coming over from England just for the day out.
Vieux Morvan was dropped in last time out at Galway but fell I the race won by Snugsborough (A Rated was second). He could be ridden prominently this time and is definitely one of interest.
Call It Magic ran a blinder in the Irish National but didn’t quite get home when seventh to General Principle. A repeat of that run gives him a chance.
Bay of Freedom was third in this contest 12 months ago and returns off a similar preparation. Should to be up for it again but he’s not getting any younger.
Oscar Knight’s jumping lets him down but the day he gets it right he’s going to collect.
Gigginstown have just one certain starter in Wounded Warrior – unless any of the reserves get in – but I think he’ll need a stiffer test of stamina.
Timiyan hasn’t lived up to expectations he was bought to have and I’m not certain he loves life over fences.
Rogue Angel (if he gets in) will be ridden by Rachel Blackmore but he’s not getting any younger. He’d probably prefer a stiffer test of stamina too.
If you’re asking me to call it, I’ll take Blazer to lead home Shantou Village, Snow Falcon and Vieux Morvan.