Friday 19 January 2018

Lots to claim memorable National win

Willie Mullins
Willie Mullins
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Mouse Morris's Galway Plate casualty Rule The World is one of a handful of horses that contested the Ballybrit feature that dominate the Guinness Kerry National betting.

The 18-runner renewal looks a highly competitive edition of the €175,000 Listowel showpiece. Your Busy, a popular National hero for James Nash and Katie Walsh in 2014, is in off a 10lb higher mark this time.

He has had a low-key prep, but, with the ground suitably heavy, the prospect of his becoming the third back-to-back winner since 2008 is a live one. Rule The World, which clipped heels or stumbled between the final two fences at Galway, shares top-weight of 11st 7lb with the Plate sixth, Alelchi Inois, whose retiring rider David Casey will be striving for a fairytale success.

A respected big-race jockey, Casey, who is to accompany Willie Mullins's Max Dynamite to Australia in its forthcoming Melbourne Cup venture, should depart the weigh-room with a swansong victory even if the weight proves too much for Alelchi Inois.

Mullins, who saddles five in the National, has booked him for Long Dog in the novices' hurdle, which constitutes a rare but appropriate demotion of Casey's good friend, Ruby Walsh. A runaway winner at Galway, Long Dog will be long odds-on to account for three others and ensure his 39-year-old rider goes out with a win.

In the National, Walsh has opted for the Plate runner-up, The Paparrazi Kid, while Charles Byrnes JP McManus-owned Plate fifth Shanpallas will line out under Barry Geraghty.

The Co Meath native has stayed loyal to Shanpallas ahead of three other McManus runners, which include Philip Dempsey's Plate also-ran Jacksonslady and Enda Bolger's recent stylish Killarney winner, Colour Squadron.

McManus' Paul Webber-trained Cantlow is the sole cross-channel raider. It is an open race, then, but the one that appeals as being most suited to conditions is Lots Of Memories. Paul Fahey's eight-year-old is a graded winner over flights on deep ground.

He won a beginners' chase on heavy at Navan in December, and was subsequently placed in top-class company behind Don Poli and Rule The World, with which he is favourably treated here off 134 for just 10st 8lb. A proven stayer with a touch of class, Lots Of Memories is fit from third-placed outings on the Flat and over flights, and Paddy Kennedy takes five pounds off.

Kennedy is hardly the most fashionable rider, but, if he enjoys a rub of the green, a famous triumph here would seriously boost his profile. Walsh is trusted to land the nap vote aboard Okotoks in the maiden hurdle.

Tony Martin's charge won a bumper at Down Royal in May and should be up to this assignment if he runs to the level that saw him finish third at Leopardstown last Christmas.

Irish Independent

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