Charles Byrnes is concerned about the prospect of testing conditions for Alfa Beat as he bids to continue his fantastic run of form in Wednesday’s Guinness Kerry National at Listowel.
The grey has improved hand over fist since recording his first chase win at Roscommon in June, winning twice more over fences and once over hurdles.
His chase rating has risen 45lb in that time though, and Byrnes is under no illusions about the task ahead.
“He’s in good form, but we would be concerned about the ground for him,” said Byrnes.
“We’re having serious rain here at the moment and he has gone up a lot in the weights, but we are hopeful as long as it doesn’t rain too much.
“He’s been declared now so I’ll imagine he’ll run whatever the ground, but we do hope it’s not too soft.”
Last year's winner Northern Alliance is reported to be in fine form by his trainer Tony Martin, although he is another who would not want it too soft.
“You are never confident going into a big race, but I’m very happy with the horse, he’s in very good form. He had a run in Galway two weeks ago. He’s come out of it well and he’s as well as we could have him,” the County Meath handler told At The Races.
“The better the ground, the better the chance he’d have. He’s just not a heavy ground horse and he was very disappointing on it at Cheltenham last November.
“He was in very good form that day but unfortunately the ground went against him. Hopefully the rain will stay away.
“He ran very well in Galway and wasn’t beaten far. The race wasn’t run to suit him. Tony McCoy jumped off and went a nice clip for the first couple of fences then slowed it up. We were a bit far back off a slow-run race and it’s very hard when it’s like that.
“The Listowel National is always a fast-run race, so hopefully we will get the run of the race.
“It’s an open race and there are very few in there you can count out of it. I think every horse in it has a chance. It’s a competitive handicap and very well organised by the handicapper.”