Plan Of Attack and Ravenhill look the two to concentrate on in the Guinness Kerry National, with marginal preference for the former.
Henry De Bromhead’s seven-year-old is still lightly raced over fences but has won twice and been placed in the other three of his five outings over the larger obstacles. He quickly developed into a decent sort, highlighted by his win over the Mildmay fences in Aintree and his fourth-place finish in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.
He comes here without a run this season but De Bromhead’s horses have struck form in recent weeks and this fellow has plenty in his favour in terms of ground conditions and the trip. He looks capable of leaving his mark of 139 well behind, and the weight he receives from Ravenhill can prove the difference today.
Ravenhill won the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on his most recent start and, like the selection, has much in his favour today.
Rob James is claiming seven, with the possibility of being 2lbs overweight, but whatever he takes off the horse’s back will be a help to his chance.
He looks sure to run a good race, as do the hat-trick-seeking Doctor Duffy and Cabaret Queen, who ran a superb race to finish third in the Galway Plate.
Run For Oscar and You Raised Me Up should dominate the opening race, the Remembering Tommy McGivern Maiden Hurdle, with preference for the former.
Charles Byrnes’ gelding ran in a red-hot bumper on debut and finished a fine fourth behind Eric Bloodaxe.
Runner-up to Favori De Champdou next time, he got his turn when racing home clear of Alka Rouge in a Leopardstown bumper in March.
Since then his attention has been turned to the Flat and, following a midfield finish at Fairyhouse, he coasted home in a Killarney maiden to earn a mark of 86.
This is his first run over hurdles, and he is facing a 130-rated rival, but he looks a very smart sort in the making and can come out on top.
You Raised Me Up was similarly promising in bumpers and has had four runs over hurdles, the most recent of which was his best as he finished third to Run For Oscar’s stablemate, Thosedaysaregone, in the Ladbrokes Hurdle.
However, he hasn’t been seen since, was beaten favourite in a maiden hurdle here last year, and is a seven-year-old seeking a breakthrough over hurdles.
Popong can reverse form with Dime A Dozen when they renew their rivalry in the Ballygarry House Hotel Mares’ Novice Chase. The selection was an easy-to-back favourite when they met at Tipperary in July, but Dime A Dozen was well on top in the closing stages, having looked in trouble when Popong led turning for home.
However, Henry De Bromhead’s horses were going through a quiet spell and they have certainly turned a corner since. The selection is also 7lbs better off with the winner and can come out on top this time.
2:10 Run For Oscar (Nap)
2:45 Malone Road
3:20 West Cork Wildway
4:30 Plan Of Attack (NB)
5:05 Star Max
5:40 Bohemian Birch
2:10 You Raised Me Up
3:20 Premium Package
3:55 Western Victory
5:05 Stacks Mountain
5:40 Mahlers Dollar