Listowel is a hell of a week and anybody who can last the seven days is made of strong stuff!
The Kerry National 16:15 is the feature race on day three of the Listowel Festival. I’ve ridden in and it’s a tough gig with that many runners on such a tight track. It’s almost easier to ride in if the ground is soft as you can be a bit more patient and work your way into the race. When it’s quicker ground though – you can’t afford to give the leaders too much rope as they won’t stop up front.
Movewithetimes was my big fancy for the Galway Plate and that race could have a big influence on the result of the Kerry National – as could owner JP McManus who has four runners declared. Movewiththetimes fell at Ballybrit before making a lot of the running to score at Killarney on his last start. His jumping was superb and a repeat of that performance over this longer trip should see Enda Bolger’s runner fighting out the finish.
I will be very surprised if he is not bang there at the last.
Willie Mullins’ Pravalaguna won over hurdles at Cork last time, but she can play a part over the larger obstacles on Wednesday. She made a lot of the running at Galway in the Wednesday feature but faded late on. If she’s ridden a little more conservatively this time, that confidence-boosting win at Cork should see her involved.
Stablemate Yorkhill fell in the Galway Plate, but made no mistake at the same venue five days later when beating Some Neck. This is the sort of race where Paul Townend can smuggle the former Grade One winner into contention. Can you trust him not to do something erratic though?
English raiders Dell Arca and Shantou Village return having finished fourth and fifth last year. David Pipe’s Dell Arca warmed up for this with a spin on the Flat last time and the Pipe team are in good form so he could run into the places again. While Gordon Elliott’s Ravenhill ran a lovely race in the Galway Plate, staying on late to finish fifth.
Champion Hurdle winning jockey Mark Walsh has opted to ride Drumcliff over the Joseph O’Brien-trained All the Answers for his boss JP McManus. All the Answers won over 2m 2f at Galway, steps up in trip here and is second favourite in the market.
Drumcliff had a spin over hurdles on his first start for Aidan Howard since joining him from Harry Fry in the UK. He travels strongly in his races and could enjoy this.
You could make a strong case for plenty, but my idea of the first four home are Movewithetimes, Pravalaguna, Yorkhill and
Jonathan Moore got a real boost when recently announced as stable jockey to Gavin Cromwell and he has a real chance to strike early with Darver Star in the 2m 4f Novice Hurdle at 16.50. A winner at Downpatrick and Killarney, this son of Kalanisi will take some stopping. Think Positive represents a strong team of Willie Mullins and Paul Townend, with the stable winning two of the last four runnings of this contest.
Charles Byrnes introduces Galway bumper winner called All Those Years in the 2m maiden hurdle at 17.25 who was well punted when winning on debut.
We also have a Leopardstown bumper winner in Exit Poll, who is well related being a half-brother to Ex Patriot, who actually beat today’s rival Benruben in a novice chase at Thurles and carries good form from chasing into this contest. It was so good to see the Sean Mulryan colours in the winners enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival again and Exit Poll can give him another winner at Listowel.
The day concludes with the 2m 4f bumper at 17.55. Usually when these contests come about the first team you look for are Willie and Paddy Mullins. The problem here is that Paddy rides Tudors Glory for ‘Shark’ Hanlon and Aubrey McMahon rides Eurotiep for Willie.
Eurotiep is not a star on pedigree and the market should guide you better than anything on their respective chances.
Charles Byrnes’ Better Be Alright ran a nice race at Limerick in bad ground, so if it is sticky it will suit him. He should improve for that run and he’s the selection.
*Prices correct at time of publishing