There’s a couple of things that happen in Kerry at this time of year.
The first thing is the pointless hope that the Kingdom can regain Sam Maguire from the clutches of the Dublin empire, and the other thing is some cracking races that go under the radar.
Here’s a quick preview of one, as well as a couple of others for you to throw into your placepots.
Killarney is the most scenic racecourse on this planet when the weather is right. But I find a bookie’s satchel emptying to be the most picturesque viewing of the lot and that can happen anywhere. It just so happens that on this occasion, we can watch the lakes behind him as he counts your winnings.
Gordon Elliott runs Pensylvania Avenue in this one. He’s bred to be a smart colt, and a three-pound hike for a 3l loss might seem somewhat excessive, but he’s entitled to come on for that run and should be bang there.
Red Sole Diva for Joseph O’Brien was last seen over further and a drop back in trip means she might have to make all in this contest and given likely conditions, that’s not ideal for some of the very unexposed sorts in behind.
Carefully is a War Front filly in Aiden O’Brien’s yard and you won’t see too many of them open up off 64 in a handicap of this nature, let alone fail to impress on any given run to date. Inevitably the stable will attract attention but you couldn’t back with confidence, so it gets a pass from me.
Instead, I’m drawn to a potentially bigger price in Royal Canford, who, as the name suggests, is a Canford Cliffs filly who has been mucked around a bit. Obviously well-bred, she was given a step-up in trip on seasonable reappearance which made little sense, but it likely shook off some cobwebs.
Her previous start off two pounds higher was over this distance and she looked to be travelling well before she was impeded early on, left poorly placed, and then impeded again when making her effort a furlong from home.
Now off two pounds lower and more race experience, I’m happy to roll the dice on this one.
This Class 3 handicap chase features quite a difference in the marks from top to bottom, with the two fancies in the market both carrying a feather weight on their backs.
On the higher end of the scale, you have the likes of Ashoka who really should have a race of this calibre in his grasp, but he’s been off for over a year, so you’d be mad to stay onside with Bridget Andrews’ mount.
Ink Master is out of this one, having last won off six pounds lower in the ratings, and his last two efforts over this trip haven’t brought about any sort of improvement.
It’s likely that All is Good will go off SP favourite in this one following on from his very good second off the same mark at Ludlow last month, but I’ll side with last year’s winner Oliver’s Gold in this contest.
He won this race last year off a rating of 123, and while he’s slid down the ratings considerably since then, we know he has course form as well as having won over the distance.
He’s been second in each of his last four starts, but has gotten closer with each effort. He’s had a fine prep for this too and a retention looks on the cards.
Maiden hurdles aren’t for everyone, but this Southwell listing has a couple of likely-smart performers to keep an eye on in future. If Masteen runs here, which he probably won’t given he was withdrawn for similar ground last time out, he has every chance. But, we’ll take a pass on the son of Astarabad for now.
Ian Williams’ One More Fleurie will be popular in the market given his last run was a superb second to My Charity at Warwick, but Sudden Destination is of a similar profile for the Doctor and with Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle, he’s probably got him covered.
Given Constituent runs off just 47 on the all-weather, he’d need to be a wonder to get in the frame here, so scratch him out.
So, while all the form coming into this race doesn’t add up, I’m happy to run with a first-timer in Dontbitedabait for Jonjo O’Neill.
He’s an Oscar gelding who cost a pretty penny, and purchases of that price usually wouldn’t need to show a whole lot on debut to beat the best runs on offer here. His second in a point-to-point behind Kapgarry (who was once rated 130) and looks solid enough to take this if he can prove fitness.