CeeBee had a brilliant Galway and returns for the Kerry National at Listowel ahead of the main national hunt season. He has a number of fancies, headed by Owega Star and Lots of Memories.
4.20 Listowel – Kerry National – 3m Handicap Chase
After two missed days, due to a waterlogged track, the Listowel festival returns on Wednesday. The marquee race of the festival takes place at 4.20 – The Guinness Kerry National. To a certain extent it’s summer jumping but on heavy ground it’s not the summer horses who’ll thrive.
A quick look at the role of honour shows a list of uninspiring horses to be brutally honest. No superstars amongst Your Busy, White Star Line, Faltering Fullback, Alfa Beat, Northern Alliance and Ponmeoth. Your Busy is back again this year and most be considered as both Alfa Beat and Ponmeoth retained their crown here. The shortest priced winner in the past 4 years was 16/1 and if you’re into such trends only 2 of the last 8 winners carried more than 10-10.
The market is headed by The Paparazzi Kid, Rule the World and Shanpallas.
The Paparazzi Kid has only once raced over 3miles, when 3rd as a novice hurdler. His stamina on this deep ground isn’t assured. He finished 2nd last time in the Galway Plate but on a track that seems to suits front runners and in a race with plenty of jumping carnage he was in the right place all the way. The first three home were ‘always prominent’ or ‘led’. I’m not sure they’ll be able to make the same use of him here with his stamina not proven on bad ground. With just 5 chase starts to his name he’s possibly a little light on experience for this sort of big field handicap chase test – his jumping wasn’t foot perfect in Galway.
Rule the World was unlucky in Galway as he clipped heels running to the last. Given his proven staying ability it’s unlikely he’d have been beaten far, if at all. He went up 3lbs for that effort but David Mullins takes off 3lbs here so there’s no major change. David got a great tune out of him when 2nd in the Irish Grand National back in April. That day’s effort show’s he’ll have the stamina required here and he has plenty of winning soft and heavy ground form in the book. Everything points towards a big run. My concern, aside from the price, is only 2 wins from his last 15 starts, none in his last 9 starts (5 x 2nds) and more importantly no wins over fences.
Shanpallas was 3rd here last year before going two better and winning the Munster National in Limerick. He’s 9lb’s higher this year (6lbs higher than his last winning mark) and looked to be beaten fairly when 5th in the Galway Plate. In addition to this all his best form appears to be on good ground with some of his worst on soft and heavy ground. Others are easily preferred.
For fear of ridicule I’ll refrain from calling myself a Colour Squadron fan but on occasion I’ve made a solid case for him. Today isn’t one of them – he’s not a 3miler.
Alelchi Inois is another who would prefer better ground. I also see nothing in his form to suggest he’s capable of winning off 147. Indevan falls into a similar category, no form on heavy going and no recent form to suggest he’s capable of winning this. Un Beau Roman is another from the Mullins camp and like the others he seems to have a slight preference for better ground. He’s also an unproven stayer and was well below his best only a week ago.
On first glance you could suggest the Galway Plate is the key to this race with the 2nd, 5th, 6th, unlucky loser, early faller, early brought down and a tailed off effort all trying for an improved effort here. However that was over 2 furlongs shorter and on much better ground. Preference is for three who were not trained to peak 7 weeks ago, handle soft ground and are proven over 3miles.
Owega Star was a winner here at the 2013 harvest festival. He was also 2nd in a competitive Troytown (behind the well handicapped Ballbriggan over 3miles on soft) before finishing 5th in the even stronger Paddy Power chase at Christmas (beaten 10L over 3miles on heavy). A repeat of either of those performances could be good enough here, this race isn’t nearly as strong. I’ve no doubt his recent hurdle and flat outings were no more than preps for this. A grade 2 hurdle winner on heavy he’ll also handle this bad ground better than most. He stays the 3mile trip, won here before and is on a decent mark. Plenty to like…
Lots of Memories is a very well handicapped horse if you look at his novice hurdle form from two seasons ago. He won a grade 3 (3miles soft), a very competitive handicap off 129 and finished 3rd to Beat That and Don Poli. You’d have to fancy either of them off 134 here! Last season was a different story however. He was very disappointing winning only 1 of his 6 novice chase starts before pulling up in the Irish National. His debut was ok, his win at Navan was good and his 3rd in the Topaz (made too much use of him) was decent too but overall it was no more than an average season. It left him on a decent chase mark though. Like Owega Star he’s had an outing on both the flat and over hurdles to get ready for this. His chase form/ability must be taken somewhat on trust but the 3 miles on heavy will definitely suit and he’s on a winning mark if returning to near his best. A win only sort.
Dare to Endeavour (first reserve, yet to get into the race) is a horse I’ll admit to not knowing a whole lot about but he is interesting for no reason other than he’s trained by Eric McNamara. Local man McNamara has trained the winner of this race 3 times recently with Ponmeoth twice and Faltering Fullback. He knows what it takes. In addition, Dare to Endeavour has 3m chase form on both soft and heavy ground. He runs off 132 here but was good enough to win off 127 and 133 as a novice in 2014. He lost his way somewhat last term but now finds himself on a decent mark and in the care of McNamara (Tom George previously). Ignore his last run, a 2mile hurdle on good ground was nothing more than a prep for this after a few months off. If getting a run, there’s a lot to like, aside from the fact he’s 33/1.…