Friday 15 December 2017

Five horses to watch at Listowel

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

A year ago, Willie Mullins' subsequent Cheltenham Festival hero Back In Focus began his flawless road to Prestbury Park with a bloodless rout at Listowel.

The same day, Annie Power, a subsequent Grade One winner at Punchestown that remains unbeaten, sluiced up on its debut for the champion trainer.

Mick Winters' Galway Hurdle heroine Missunited made it three from three at the riverside venue in 2012 by ploughing through the mud to plunder the amateur riders' race.

Monty's Pass won a Kerry National en route to Aintree glory, while Group One winners Alamshar and Treasure Beach also ran at the modest Kerry venue.

Here's a few that have the potential to add a touch of quality to this year's proceedings.

Spring Heeled

Jim Culloty's second-term chaser has been a slow burner. He got off the mark over fences at the sixth attempt in Killarney and has the scope to compete off a low weight in the Guinness Kerry National. Has an alternative entry on Tuesday.


Mick Halford's classy Aga Khan-owned stayer had entries in both St Legers this weekend. He skipped those in favour of a smaller step up for Wednesday's Listed race; it would be a let down if he couldn't complete his four-timer in that.

Railway Zira

Harry Kelly's Westerner mare left the sales unsold at €800 as a three-year-old. She proved her worth by scoring on her track bow in Killarney last year and then hosed up at Galway in February. She holds a couple of entries over hurdles.

Rebel Fitz

Last year's dramatic Galway Hurdle victor continued his progression over fences with another immaculate display at Ballybrit last week. Mick Winters has put him in a novice chase on Tuesday, so it would be a real treat if he turned up.


JP McManus' Eddie Harty-trained horse was progressive last autumn, finishing up with a game defeat to Flying Light at Leopardstown at Christmas. As an unexposed sort, he would be interesting in Thursday's big hurdle.

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