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  1. #21

  2. #22
    Gary O'Brien

    The big day of the week has arrived at the Harvest Festival, with the €160,000 Guinness Kerry National topping the bill on a bumper eight-race mixed card.

    As usual a maximum field of 18 has been declared for the 3m feature at 4.05, and while it doesn’t look a particularly strong renewal in terms of quality (for example, the top-weight is rated 140 this time compared to 155 twelve months ago) it is certainly competitive.

    Willie Mullins and in particular Ruby Walsh have such a fantastic record in the race that many punters will be drawn to their representative Themoonandsixpence but it will rank as one of the champion trainer’s greatest achievements if he can bring the bring the nine-year-old back from an absence of over two years to land a prestigious contest like this first time out. On the plus side he is just 4lb higher than when finishing second in the 2010 Galway Plate and is open to signficant improvement after just three runs over fences but preference goes to the race-fit Start Me Up Charlie Swan’s gelding ran well when fifth in the Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and was probably over the top when disappointing in the Irish Grand National but he should now be ready to peak again following a recent pipe-opener over hurdles. Locally-trained Questions Answered could also go well at a big price.

    Whatever the outcome there, the Mullins/Walsh axis are unlikely to leave empty-handed as Pique Sous is expected to atone for his shock Cork defeat in the 2m maiden hurdle at 5.10. The Cheltenham festival third was a bitter disappointment last time but his jumping lacked fluency on that occasion and he will surely be a lot sharper now. Mumbo Jumbo and Our Vinnie are promising jumping recruits in their own right and may give him most to do.

    The highlight on the level is the clash of Minsk and Chamonix in the Listed Listowel Stakes at 2.55, with the latter likely to head the market following his gutsy effort at Galway on his most recent start. However while he is undoubtedly on an upward curve he looks vulnerable to something with a turn of foot in testing going, something which John Oxx’s charge undoubtedly possesses. He hasn’t been seen since getting turned over on his hurdles bow at Fairyhouse in February but showed his ability to defy a layoff last year and will surely be well tuned up for this return to action.
    Selections
    1.55 Secret Recipe (5-2, bet365)
    2.25 Northern Rocked (9-2, BetVictor)
    2.55 Minsk (4-1, BetVictor, Stan James)
    3.30 Too Scoops (6-1, general; 67-10, Betfair)
    4.05 Start Me Up (11-1, Paddy Power, BetVictor, Stan James)
    4.40 Clarkey (3-1, general)
    5.10 Pique Sous (Evens, BetVictor)
    5.40 Teelin Star (6-4, general)

  3. #23
    Listowel’s Kerry National is the centre-piece of a busy day of midweek racing. Three selections in total.

    Listowel 3.30: WHATEVER JACKSAYS (7-4, general)
    Apart from his blip in the Galway Hurdle, Whatever Jacksays has been a revelation in the past few months and is selected to resume winning ways today.

    A horse who has won a few decent handicap hurdles by wide margins, he relishes being able to dictate proceedings from the front in heavy ground and grinding his rivals into submission. He was taken out of his comfort zone at Galway last time, but will be better able to employ his front running tactics back up in distance today, and it will take a good horse to reel him in.

    Listowel 4.05: START ME UP (EW 12-1, general)
    Start Me Up was a reasonable Novice Chaser last season and a few of his better efforts earmarked him as one to watch out for in a top handicap chase such as this contest today, The Kerry National.

    The eight-year old produced a few notable efforts last season with his Navan third to subsequent Irish National heroine, Lion Na Bearnai, the pick of his Novice efforts. He was also far from disgraced in handicap company behind Sunnyhillboy at the Cheltenham Festival and that race will have given him invaluable experience for today’s contest.

    The likely very testing conditions will hold no fears and with the possibility that Charlie Swan has laid him out for the race, a bold showing is anticipated.

  4. #24
    Yeehaa
    Guest
    Predictor goes with King Ali. Johnny Ward's tip in the Post too.

    Save my blushes a big price at bottom with canny trainer.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Statto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    473
    Questions Answered is a bit of a steamer. Pricewised but also owned by Grahams.

  6. #26
    Sad postscript to race. Premier Dane had to be put down at weekend due to shoulder injury.

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