2019 Munster National tips – Two against the field for Sunday’s jumps highlight at Limerick

Brian Healy looks over the final field for Sunday’s big jumps race in Ireland and picks out his two against the field who can post big runs in the Limerick feature.

The feature race of Sunday’s seven-race card at Limerick in Ireland is the Grade A Munster National Handicap Chase, the latest in line of the Irish ‘national’ races, and a strong entry of 18 runners go to post for a gruelling three-mile contest in heavy conditions.

Boasting a first prize of €60,000 to the winner, the main event gets underway at 4.35pm and Brian Healy picks out two against the field in what looks a strong renewal of this latest renewal of the Sunday feature race.

The progressive THE BIG LENSE (11/1, William Hill) looks one who could post a big effort, and Gordon Elliott’s charge is improving with each start over the larger obstacles where he is yet to finish outside of the first four horses home in any of his five outings.

One of six in the race for owner JP McManusThe Court Cave gelding is a previous hurdles winner, but he also won in the point-to-point sphere and he arrives here on a hat-trick of wins having struck at Listowel and Navan this campaign. His latest win at the latter named venue saw him run out a half-length winner over Carrigready where he struck readily despite the narrow margin of victory, and he ought to be suited by a return to three miles.

He has shown versatility over a range of distances, and while he has yet to win over this far under Rules, he has run well over this longer trip where he could continue to find improvement in cheekpieces. He is 2-2 in the headgear over fences, and an 8lbs rise in the weight might not prove enough of a burden to preventing him from another big effort.

There is a slight concern over the ground, and he has yet to be tested over obstacles on ground as soft as this although he did make the frame in a soft ground bumper earlier in his career which offers some hope that he won’t be inconvenienced by the conditions; and if he can handle the soft ground then the unexposed chaser should go well under Luke Dempsey who has ridden him to both his chase wins.

Luke

Luke Dempsey can ride another big winner in the Munster National on Sunday

 

BLACK SCORPION (8/1, Ladbrokes) is only 1lb higher in the weights than when finishing five lengths’ third to the reopposing Spider Web in this race twelve months ago, and the Scorpion gelding might be able to improve on that finish here.

A heavy ground winner at Clonmel a couple of seasons ago, he has been relatively lightly raced whilst under the care of Eric McNamara, and he was a Listowel winner last September prior to that run in this contest.

A faller when just getting into contention in last season’s Paddy Power Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, that might have left a mark and he turned in a poor effort next time where he pulled up; but he returned from 200 days off the track with a solid third behind Act In Time at Killarney in August although the trip was patently too sharp for him.

A similar story ensued at Listowel where he finished fifth behind Or Jaune De Somoza, finiding less than looked likely having travelled well into the race. However, that was also over two miles and stepping back up considerably in distance here could see him in a much better light given that he could have more to offer as a staying chaser and is proven in the conditions.

2019 MUNSTER NATIONAL TIPS – TWO AGAINST THE FIELD

THE BIG LENSE (11/1, William Hill), BLACK SCORPION (8/1, Ladbrokes)