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Kerry National Preview

Morning all,

There was bit of autumn feel about Tuesday morning in my neck of the woods. It was sunny with mainly blue skies but I’m sure you get my drift.

There’s another sign of autumn today. Over at the Listowel Festival it’s the Guinness Kerry National (3.55).  It’s the first of the big Irish handicap chases of the autumn/winter campaign and a bit of hint that the start of the new winter jumps season is just weeks away.

This side of the Irish Sea there’s a decent looking seven race card at Goodwood with the feature race being the Listed Best Of British Members Club Foundation Stakes (2.52).  Perth and Redcar also stage afternoon fixtures and there is seven-race evening card at Kempton.

Wednesday is normally the day in the week when I start to look seriously at the weekend’s racing. And, there’s some real classy action to look forward to.  It all begins on Thursday with the start of the three-day Cambridgeshire meeting at Newmarket. Saturday’s card looks a real treat for us racing fans. Besides the Cambridgeshire Handicap (3:35), there’s also juvenile Group 1 action in the shape of the Middle Park Stakes (3:00) & Cheveley Park Stakes (2:25).  I’m on a weekend break with the missus but will hopefully catch up with racing on Sunday.

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Inside today’s main piece I peek at one of Saturday’s big 2-year-old races. As well as putting the Kerry National under the big race microscope.

Something for the weekend – Part 1

Traditionally I haven’t got too interested in the top autumn juvenile races from a betting perspective. However, this season I have taken a different approach and it seems to have worked out, so far. I’m looking forward to both the Middle Park & Cheveley Park Stakes. Today I’m looking at the fillies’ race.

There’s £160,915 on offer to this year’s winner of the Cheveley Park Stakes with £250,000 in guaranteed prize money.  The race has a bit of an international feel to it this year with a runner from France in Have A Good Day and an intriguing, once raced Aidan O’Brien filly Tenebrism, who we haven’t seen on the track since March.

At the time of writing the going at Newmarket is being described as good to soft. Not much rain is forecast for the rest of the week but it’s hard to see the going being quicker than good on Saturday.

Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes – Newmarket

Sacred Bridge looks a worthy favourite after her win in Group 3 Round Table Stakes at the Curragh last month. Granted the second & fourth have both been beaten since but she did run out a very easy winner that day showing a good turn of foot to win the race between the final two furlongs.  Trainer Ger Lyons did the Round Tower/Cheveley Park double with Lightening Pearl in 2011.

Zain Claudette made it 3-4 when winning the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York last month. Her improvement has come on good to firm ground. Make no mistake she’s a high-class juvenile and is probably slightly underestimated in the ante post betting at around 4/1.

Since 2012 four winners of the race had finished either first or second in the Lowther Stakes on their previous start.  

Sandrine was runner-up in the Lowther after winning her first three starts. She finished 1 length behind the winner but was giving Zain Claudette 3lb that day. The stiffer Newmarket 6f should suit her better than York’s and ease in the ground won’t inconvenience her either.

Other contenders:

Flotus has looked a smart juvenile when winning on her racecourse debut at Goodwood in the spring but didn’t build on that promise on three subsequent starts in better company. Seemed to enjoy the drop in class when comfortably making all in beating ten rivals in Ripon’s Champion Two Year-Old Trophy. The time of the Ripon was good but this is a tougher assignment for her.

I have to confess that I don’t know much about Have A Good Day’s overall French form but her 2 ¾ length 6th of 14 against the boys in the Group 1 Prix Morny looks decent enough form.

Aidan O’Brien saddled the winner three times between 2016 & 2018. His possible runner Tenebrism hasn’t been seen since winning a Naas maiden on her debut in March. Clearly, she’s had a setback since that win as she was being talked about as a Royal Ascot horse after that success. Looked smart but winning this is a big ask on just her second career start.

Eve Lodge won the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton early this month. The second and third have boasted the form nicely by finishing first and second in last Saturday’s Middle Park Stakes. She has been supplemented and could get into the money.

In tomorrow’s column I will be looking at the Middle Park Stakes.

Wednesday racing


4:20 – Guinness Kerry National Handicap Chase (Grade A) – 3m

JP McManus silks will be worn by no less than seven runners. Of his seven the one I like most is the Gordon Elliott Aramax. The 5-year-old won the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.  He’s only 1-7 since going chasing but he put in a career best over the larger obstacles when a 4 ¼ lengths 3rd of 19 in the Galway Blazers Handicap Chase 54-days ago. He seemed to stay the extended 2m 6f at Galway. By no means certain to get the 3m but I fancy he will.

Born By The Sea made it 2-9 over fences when winning the Galway Blazers two starts back. He was strong at the finish that day and looked an ideal type for this. Up 8lb and not sure to confirm form with Aramax.  No show over hurdles since but he’s a much better horse over fences and has each way claims.

Gordon Elliott also saddles Conflated who is 2-6 over fences. He’s got some classy form in Graded races. First start in a handicap chase for the 7-year-old and although he’s won over an extended 2m 4 ½ f over fences is another not guaranteed to stay 3m. Looks an ideal type for the race and had a spin on the flat 21-days ago so should be spot on fitness wise.

There seems to be a lot of confidence behind first reserve Fairyhill Run. The mare has won her last three over fences. Up 14lb for her last win at Kilbeggan she remains a competitive mark and her trainer is on the record as saying she’s Graded level chaser and will win this if she gets in. High praise indeed and if she sneaks in, must be high on the shortlist.

Wednesday selection:

It was nice to find you a winner with Visualisation at Listowel yesterday. Sadly, the other selection Fil The Power ran an absolute ‘stinker’ and was never at the races.

The good form of the Jessica Harrington yard also continued with Tut Tut winning the nursery at Listowel and hopefully some of you were on that one too.

I would normally take two or maybe even three against the field in a race like the Kerry National. I have four horses on this year’s shortlist. If Fairyhill Run gets into the race she will definitely be one of my race selections.


4:20 – Fairyhill Run – 8/1 @ Bet365 & Paddy Power

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Good luck with your Wednesday bets.


John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk

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