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Guinness Kerry National Preview

Evening all,

Inside today’s main piece I preview today’s feature race at the Listowel Festival. Plus, Saturday’s big betting race the bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap.

The race of the Listowel Festival is on this afternoon. The Guinness Kerry National Handicap Chase (Grade A) (4:20) has €200,000 in guaranteed prize money with €118,000 on offer to the winner. I tend to see the race as the first big handicap chase of the winter jumps season. However, unless the rain arrives its going to be run on anything but winter ground.

Bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap

Given the number of entries 44 at the final confirmation stage it seems likely we’ll be close to a thirty runner field.

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The going at Newmarket is being described as good. It’s set to mainly dry until Friday when its set to be wet. How much we get will become clearer later in the week. For now, I’m of the view that it won’t be too far away from good on the day.

Run over a specialist 1m 1f. The last two renewals of the Cambridgeshire have seen winners returned at 40/1 so its race that can provide a shock winner.  Indeed, there have also been winners at 50/1 (2017) and 40/1 (2011).

Trends:

Looking at some of the trends.

On Course Profits free Horse Racing magazine

Age: Those six and older are 0 winners from 44 runners 4 placed. Mind you we saw what Summerghand did to the age trend in last Saturday’s Ayr Gold Cup.

Stall: I wouldn’t be too concerned about the draw. It looks a race where pace is more important than draw. Although as ever I would probably look to avoid runners drawn out on the wings. Those not drawn 3 to 31 are 0 winners from 73 runners 7 placed.

Runs in Career:  Those with 27 or more career starts are 0 winners from 91 runners 7 placed.

Career wins: The sweet spot seems 2 to 6 career wins. Those with less or more career wins are 0 winners from 88 runners 8 placed.

Weight: 8-04 to 8-10 such runners are 8 winners from 135 runners +58.5 26 placed.

Just two yards have had more than one win in the race since 2008. John Gosden is 3 winners from 20 runners +23.5 and Marcus Tregoning is 2 winners from 9 runners 3 placed.

Trends Verdict:

I don’t think there’s much to see among the trends. However. focusing on those six and under looks as good a starting point when it comes to shortlisting the race. Lower weighted horses seem to have the edge and I would probably steer clear of those who have had 27 or more career starts and are drawn out on a wing. Oh, and if you fancy a dart at one 25/1 or bigger, I wouldn’t put you off.

Contenders:

Haggas holds all the aces

Looking at the sponsors ante post market William Haggas has a strong grip on the front end of the market with the favourite and second favourite. Mujtaba heads the betting after an impressive win at Doncaster last time. He came from behind in a steadily run race that day and a 4lb penalty isn’t likely to stop him. He’s well in and stays 1m 2f which is no bad thing in the Cambridgeshire.

Haggas could also saddle Protagonist who bids for the hat trick after wins at Doncaster and Sandown. Up 7lb but going the right way and is big contender.  Then there is Montassib. The 4-year-old would have preferred a stronger pace when 1 ¾ length 4th of 10 to Jungle Cove in handicap at Ascot last time and looks a good type for the race.

Despite the obvious claims on the Haggas horses. This is a competitive race and I have plenty on the shortlist. I will look at the race again when final declarations have been made but here are a few that catch my eye. Al Marmar, Bell Rock, Dual Identity, Arqoob, Injazati, and Perotto.

Race Verdict:

Not very original but Mujtaba is the standout here. However, do you want to take 5/1 about him though? The Cambridgeshire is a 10/1 the field race so I have to take him on and if he wins I can take it on the chin.

When you have a field of 30 + runners it’s a race where you can easily have three or four against field which I will be doing. Although I haven’t had a bet in the race yet at first glance there are three that look overpriced to me: Perotto 33/1 at Coral & Ladbrokes and Arqoob 66/1 with the sponsors Bet365.

Listowel

Guinness Kerry National

Eighteen are set to go to post for this afternoon’s Kerry National. A lot revolves around whether you think Hewick whether the handicapper has got his measure? If you think he hasn’t and the trainer thinks he’s a Cheltenham Gold Cup contender, then you will be helping yourself to the 7/1 available with Coral.

Good ground has seen Hewick win the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and the Galway Plate on his last two starts over fences. Now 8lb higher than when winning last time and having failed to go with him at Sandown or Galway I maybe jumping on board to late but I’m of the believe that on a sound surface he can defy his new mark of 163.

Other contenders:

Rock Road is first reserve. If he was to get in, then he may prove a better proposition than stablemate El Barra who was put in his place by Hewick when runner-up in the Plate. Rock Road might be a 10-year-old but he’s progressive and effective on good ground. He did well to win over 2m 4f at Killarney last time and three mile will suit him better.

Last year’s winning trainer Joseph O’Brien saddles six of the 18 runners. Fire Attack was in the lead and had still to be asked for his effort when falling five out in the Galway Plate.  I think he’s nicely treated and although staying 3m isn’t guaranteed he’s going to win a race like this when putting it altogether. The other O’Brien runner I like is Busselton. A winner on the level at Roscommon two starts back he was a good 2nd of 20 over fences in the Galway Blazers last time. A winner of a beginners’ chase (2m 6f) here 12 months ago. He’s yet to race over 3m but looks worth a go over the trip on a sound surface.

Hurricane Georgie’s jumping let her down when unseating her rider at the first in the Plate. Prior to that she had looked a progressive handicap chaser when winning the Midlands National at Kilbeggan (3m 1f).  Ronald Pump isn’t the most reliable and he can be reluctant to start as occurred in the Galway Plate. He blew the start that day but was staying on steadily enough to finish a 14 length 7th of 21 to Hewick. Back from a couple of runs over hurdles he’s handicapped to go close on a going day.

Verdict:

I’m going with Hewick as my mains selection but Rock Road might be worth a saver if he gets a run. If he doesn’t then the O’Brien pair of Fire Attack & Busselton both look capable of going close. At bigger odds I wouldn’t put anyone off Ronald Pump who could get into the money.

Wednesday Selection:

Listowel

4:20 – Hewick – 15/2 @ Coral & Ladbrokes.

Good luck with your Wednesday bets.

John

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