Campbonnais can make most of his light weight
A fantastic week's racing in Listowel draws to a close with another busy eight-race card this afternoon.
On what will be the last day of activity at the Kerry venue until next June, a well-contested Edmond Whelan Memorial Handicap Hurdle is the feature event.
Lucky 15 quartet
Paul Townend could be the latest to take advantage of Davy Russell's misfortune when he gets the leg up on Campbonnais for Charles Byrnes in the two-and-a-half miler. A winner on his first two starts of the season, the Gigginstown-owned Campbonnais has failed to fire in four subsequent outings.
However, his last run at Killarney was by far the pick of those efforts, so it doesn't require a huge stretch of the imagination to see him building on that now. At just five years old, Campbonnais still has scope to improve, and he gets in here off a lovely racing weight of 10st 5lb.
Earlier, Little Arrows is taken to oblige in the Killocrim Handicap. Fourth at the Curragh on Sunday, Ken Condon's son of Danehill Dancer was a fast-finishing third behind Maundy Money on Wednesday. If he can reproduce that form now, in what is a lesser contest, he will be hard to beat under Fran Berry.
In the Guinness Surge Beginners' Chase, John The Soldier is a speculative fancy on its chasing debut, while Laughing Boy looks the pick in the MJ Carroll Arro Maiden Hurdle. Willie Mullins' charge won over a mile and a half on the Flat in June, and he has the assistance of Ruby Walsh on his jumping debut here.
Outsider to note
She's A Staker looks set to trade around 10/1 in the Charlie Chute Memorial Handicap. The Denis Leahy-trained filly would represent each-way value at that.
Lightly raced, She's A Staker had two decent placed efforts to her name from five outings last term, including when third in a maiden at this festival. For no obvious reason, she then ran poorly twice, but redeemed herself at Galway last time.
On that occasion, she was beaten just two lengths when a staying-on fourth over seven furlongs. With an extra furlong likely to be to her advantage now, and down a pound in the ratings, She's A Staker has plenty going for her.
Horses sporting first-time headgear are always worth a second look. On today's card, three are declared to wear blinkers that have never worn them before, though Ciaras Lady is only a reserve in the 4.55.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained Andantino, which has dropped 4lbs of late, would have an outside chance under Sean Levey in the 2.25 if he improves for the application of blinds, as would Eric McNamara's Tony's Treasure in the 5.05. Having come up short in handicaps, Tony's Treasure may figure more prominently now that he reverts to maiden company.
Key Listowel stat
In the last eight years, just one horse has carried 11st or more to victory in the Edmond Whelan Memorial Handicap Hurdle. This afternoon, four of the 13 runners are above the cut-off point, including the potential favourite, Ruby Walsh's mount Hunting Tower.