The Kerry National – 4.40 Listowel
There is nothing quite like watching 20 chasers run over 3 miles. Finding the winner of such races is tricky however but I will give it a go.
As with any race with a rich history I like to use trends to narrow the field down to a more manageable number. The use of trends is subjective but the main ones that stand out for me are as follows:-
16/17 – Finished Top 8 Last Time Out (6/17 Won last time out)
16/17 – 20/1 or shorter.
17/17 – 6,7,8 or 9 Years Old
17/17 – ran within the past 90 days. (9/17 ran in past 16-30 days)
For me that is quite a strong set of trends with which to start with. Applying those to the field leaves a shortlist of: Klept; Burn and Turn; Quantitive Easing; Usuel Smurfer; Jackson Lady; Pass The Hat; Shanpallas and the 3rd reserve Tom Horn.
The two that I really like are Klept and to a lesser extent Pass The Hat:-
Klept – well, probably like a few in this race, this has been his target. I always find a run over hurdles before a big chase interesting (one of main trends now used to find the Grand National Winner, as most recent winners had a run over hurdles at some point that season) and this is no different. He ticks a lot of boxes and has proven class at Grade1/A level, which I always like to see. He is still unexposed and is usually a solid jumper. He needs good to firm ground which he will get here (apparently has problem with breathing and soft ground is a struggle). He gets on well with this Jockey and for me he has a very good chance. Like a lot of these his only question is stamina but he is trying this trip under rules for the first time and he should stay as there is a lot of stamina on dam’s side – he could well improve for the step up.
Pass The Hat – clearly he is in the trends shortlist and he has the benefit of being in good form. He won a competitive race fairly comfortably last time out and again is fairly unexposed and entitled to improve further. He is another who needs to prove himself at the distance but he has only tried it once and ran ok. He also has a touch of class having won at Grade C and B and placed in a Grade A race. The trainer is in great form and although his form at the track is nothing to shout out about I won’t let that put me off this time. With decent form on left handed, tight tracks, I hope he can run well.
You could well make a case for a few of the others but having looked through them these two stood out. The biggest danger for me is Usuel Smurfer who on paper has a very solid chance. My only doubt was that he appears to prefer going right handed, with no wins going the other way as yet. He has placed a few times but he looks to be happy going the other way. He can also get quite far back in his races and he may not have enough time to catch those in front – if he stays. However he is another young’un with good recent form and should run his race. Quantitive Easing has run 9 times at 3 miles or further and has yet to place. Unlike the other he looks to me like he has proved that he doesn’t really stay, I also don’t really like first time blinkers in a large field and this does show that they are reaching desperation point in an effort to get him back into some form. Not for me today. I think there are even more stamina doubts over Jackson Lady as all best form is over 17f and mares don’t have a great record in this race. She has also had 9 tries in graded company and is yet to win. Burn and Turn also has the mares’ stat to overcome. In fairness I heard this on ATR this morning, no winner since late 90s although I do not know how many mares have tried. There is a stamina doubt and she does like juice in the ground. She is another who looks happiest going right handed as well. However, a big run from her wouldn’t be a surprise. Shanpallas got stuffed by Pass The Hat last time out and I can’t really find a reason why he should overturn the form if they both run their race again. Unless this was the target and he wasn’t fully tuned up of course but the fact he was favourite suggests he was. However he is unexposed and could run a good race and may get closer to PTH this time. Tom Horn is 3rd reserve and probably won’t get in. He is only 1 from 9 chasing and they reach for headgear for the first time, which is rarely a positive. If he does run he may run an ok race, we shall see.
I am placing a 2 point win bet on Klept 11/1 and 1 point win on Pass The Hat 12/1. Hopefully they both run their races, get luck in running, and go close.
Good Luck whatever you back. These races are tough and winners are hard to find. Let’s just hope that all runners and riders come back safe and sound and we get a good run for our money.