The headline event of the week from Listowel is the Kerry National. The race has attracted a maximum field of 18 runners, and top-weight Hewick will bid to complete the Galway Plate – Kerry National double.
A four-time winner over fences, Hewick received 10lb from the handicapper for his Galway win and is now tasked with conceding upwards of 10lb to his 17 rivals in the Kerry National.
Jordan Gainford will retain the ride on the Shark Hanlon-trained seven-year-old, who’s €850 purchase will bid to provide the trainer with a second Kerry National, having won the race in 2011 with Alfa Beat.
El Barra and Darasso renew rivalry with Hewick, having finished second and third in the Galway Plate. El Barra is 5lb better off with Hewick for a four-length beating in the Galway Plate. El Barra’s trainer Willie Mullins has had a superb week already at Listowel, having saddled six winners across the first two days.
It’s 16 years since Bothar Na provided Willie Mullins with his most recent Kerry National win and Mullins’ hand will be strengthened should first reserve Rock Road obtain a place in the final 18. He’ll race off bottom-weight of ten stone, and despite having gone up a total of 19lb since his Mayo National win earlier this season, he’s a lightly raced ten-year-old that’s improved dramatically for the move to Closutton.
Joseph O’Brien saddles six horses, and the Gigginstown-owned Fire Attack looks the most obvious of his team. Fire Attack remains lightly raced over fences, and while his stamina is not guaranteed, he has won over 2m5f and ground conditions should suit.
Gabbys Cross and Busselton renew rivalry having finished 1-2 in the Galway Blazers earlier this season. Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore landed the Kerry National with Poker Party in 2019, and a 6lb rise for Gabbys Cross should still see him competitive.
Gordon Elliott memorably combined with Lisa O’Neill to win back-to-back renewals of the Kerry National with Potters Point and Wrath Of Titans in 2017 and 2016. Hurricane Georgie is the sole runner for Elliott and comes into the feature race fresh having unseated rider at the first fence in the Galway Plate.
It looks fiercely competitive but if Rock Road obtains a place in the final field, he should take some beating off his feather-weight.
We’re paying ****FIVE PLACES on the race with prices guaranteed overnight across all our betting channels.
****We were originally paying 6 PLACES on the Kerry National but, owing to non-runners, this changed to 5 PLACES on Wednesday morning.