2019 Kerry National tips – Two against the field for the Listowel Harvest Festival feature on Wednesday
Brian Healy takes a look at the big-race field for Wednesday’s Kerry National at Listowel, the feature race of day three of the Harvest Festival meeting.
The feature race of the week-long Listowel Harvest Festival goes to post on Wednesday with the latest renewal of the competitive Kerry National, which goes to post at 4.15pm as the fifth race of the afternoon on a racecard that features both flat and jumps racing action.
Boasting a first prize of €118,000 to the winner, the three-mile chase has attracted a maximum field of 30 entries for what is sure to be a thrilling renewal of this competitive marathon handicap contest., and Brian Healy picks out two against the field for Wednesday’s highlight who could go well in the main event at Listowel where Movewiththetimes (7/2, Ladbrokes) is a strong favourite for the contest.
However, given relatively cramped odds in a competitive renewal he could be worth taking on given that he has a few letters in his recent form, and POKER PARTY (14/1, Paddy Power) wasn’t unfancied for the Galway Plate, but Henry de Bromhead’s charge made an early exit from that contest having unseated his rider at the second fence having been hampered and unsighted. However, the Gentlewave gelding had found some progressive form over the winter months and he could be worth chancing to bounce back if that last mishap hasn’t dented his confidence.
He hasn’t always been fully convincing with his jumping, but he went close to a breakthrough win over fences at Leopardstown during the Christmas Festival where he chased home Speaker Connolly, beaten by five lengths but finishing well clear of the third horse home.
He stepped up on that performance at Naas to run out a five lengths’ winner over Stowaway Fever in January, after which he followed up with a defeat of the useful Monatomic at Naas, scoring by two lengths where he found plenty for pressure in a competitive contest which has since thrown up a couple of subsequent winners.
From there he finished a good third behind Real Steel and Hardline at Punchestown in a valuable contest, and he could be worth forgiving his blunder last time from which he’s been given plenty of time to recover from, and there is a suspicion that he might still have more to offer as a chaser.
Rachael Blackmore is 2-4 on Henry de Bromhead’s charge, and a mark of 138 doesn’t look beyond him given his earlier form prior to his Galway disappointment, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him post a big effort here if his mishap last time hasn’t dented his confidence and he copes with this step up in trip.
YORKHILL (10/1, William Hill) is arguably the class-act in this field, and while Willie Mullins’ charge perhaps didn’t quite manage to hit the heights hoped, the Presenting gelding is still a very capable performer who ought to go well.
A prolific winner over hurdles and fences as a novice, he lost his way over back over hurdles in the 2017/18 season where he posted a string of disappointing efforts in the wake of a pair of lesser chase starts which include being beaten around 80 lengths behind Min in the Dublin Chase.
Having rounded off that campaign with a disappointing ninth of twelve runners behind Bapaume at Auteuil in the Prix la Barka, he was subsequently off the track for almost ten months before returning to chasing where he followed home a resurgent Acapella Bourgeois in the Suir Valley Chase at Clonmel, but he subsequently flopped back over hurdles in France.
Like Poker Party, the Mullins runner – one of three in the race for the Closutton trainer – was an unfortunate casualty in the Galway Plate, suffering a slipped saddle jumping the fifth fence which saw Paul Townend deposed into the turf and so that run can be readily forgiven. He then made no mistake when running out a three lengths’ winner over Some Neck and Valseur Lido – who both run here – when scoring back at Galway four days later, and he turns out here from the same mark so ought to post a big effort back at three miles.
He is used to carrying big weights, so the burden of 11-7 shouldn’t prove too much of a negative, and he can make his presence felt in this Kerry National renewal.