Sport Horse Racing

Monday 18 December 2017

Footy Facts to net the prize in Kerry National

The Guinness Kerry National looks set to provide a fittingly exciting centrepiece to the week's activities in Listowel this afternoon.

The classy Mossbank heads the weights, while last year's hero Northern Alliance, the 2008 and 2007 winner Ponmeoath and Finger Onthe Pulse, so game in the Galway Plate in July, are just a few of the high-profile contenders set to do battle.

Lucky 15 quartet

Taken to trump them all, however, is the Robert Tyner-trained Footy Facts. While no 10-year-old has won the race since Bishops Hall scored for Harry de Bromhead and Franny Woods in 1996, Footy Facts is sufficiently unexposed over the bigger obstacles to warrant support.

Second to Northern Alliance in a beginners' chase at the meeting in 2008, Philip Enright's mount is well in today off just 10st 5lb. If he can reproduce his best form from last season on his reappearance, he will give them all something to think about.

The three-time bumper winner The Real Article is hard to oppose under Andrew McNamara in the Intervet/Schering-Plough Maiden Hurdle, but Francis Du Mesnil is a better-value option in the following Seamus Mulvaney Chase. Successful here last year, Arthur Moore's French-bred has gradually been recapturing his form of late.

In the Ballygarry House Hotel Hurdle, One Cool Tornado can get back to winning ways under champion jockey Ruby Walsh. First and second on successive days at Galway last month, Paul Gilligan's five-year-old still has scope to improve.

Lay of the day

FOOLISH Ambition, likely favourite for the Exchange Inn & Broderick's Bar Handicap, has plenty on her plate. A three-year-old filly in her first handicap, her rating of 95 looks stiff, and she must concede weight to all bar one of her 11 rivals on her first outing in 135 days.

Championship

aspirations

Pat Smullen's double yesterday took him seven clear of both Fran Berry and Johnny Murtagh in the jockeys' championship.

Although Smullen has a solid chance on Address Unknown for Dermot Weld in the 3.35, Murtagh's book may be the strongest. Even if Foolish Ambition has her work cut out for him, Murtagh will test Address Unknown on Clearwater Bay, while Exodus will probably start odds-on for him in the opener.

Key Listowel stat

Runners from Paul Cashman's select stable in Cork are always to be respected, not least when he engages young Danny Mullins.

Their strike-rate together over the past three seasons is 3-16 (19pc), returning a huge profit of 28 points to a one-unit level stake. Miss Eze, in the 3.0, bids to further enhance their partnership today.

Irish Independent

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