Monday 19 March 2018

Pulse targeting Kerry prize

Tom Taaffe. Photo: Frank McGrath
Tom Taaffe. Photo: Frank McGrath

Tom Taaffe's Galway Plate hero Finger Onthe Pulse will bid to win his second major prize of the summer in the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel on Wednesday.

The nine-year-old edged out Themoonandsixpence in a thrilling finish to the Ballybrit highlight at the end of July and Frank Berry, racing manager for owner JP McManus, reports the gelding to have thrived since.

"He came out of the race very well and Tom has been very happy with him since," said Berry.

"He's gone up 8lb but he is in really great shape. I believe they didn't get a lot of rain overnight and that will have a big bearing on him, so we're hoping for another good run from him.

"He wouldn't mind ease in the ground, as long as it's not heavy he should be grand."

McManus has an interesting second string to his bow in the shape of the Michael Hourigan-trained Dancing Tornado.

The nine-year-old shaped with promise when third over hurdles at Killarney last month and will tomorrow have the assistance of McManus' retained rider and 15-times champion jockey Tony McCoy.

"Dancing Tornado has come out of his run over hurdles in Killarney in good form and Michael is pleased with him," Berry continued.

"He's maybe a little bit inexperienced but he ran a nice race the last day and if he puts it all together, he could run a big race.

"The ground doesn't matter to him, so we're hoping for the best."

Charles Byrnes is concerned about the prospect of testing conditions for ante-post favourite Alfa Beat as he bids to secure his fifth win on the bounce.

"He's in good form, but we would be concerned about the ground for him," said Byrnes.

"We're having serious rain here at the moment and he has gone up a lot in the weights, but we are hopeful as long as it doesn't rain too much.

"He's been declared now so I'll imagine he'll run whatever the ground, but we do hope it's not too soft."

Last year's winner Northern Alliance is reported to be in fine form by his trainer Tony Martin, although he is another who would not want it too soft.

"You are never confident going into a big race, but I'm very happy with the horse. He had a run in Galway two weeks ago. He's come out of it well and he's as well as we could have him," the County Meath handler told At The Races.

"The better the ground, the better the chance he'd have. He's just not a heavy ground horse and he was very disappointing on it at Cheltenham last November.

"The Listowel National is always a fast-run race, so hopefully we will get the run of the race.

"It's an open race and there are very few in there you can count out of it. I think every horse in it has a chance. It's a competitive handicap and very well organised by the handicapper."

Noel Meade's Oscar Looby has been off the track since pulling up in a Grade One novice event at Leopardstown in February, but the trainer hopes he will not lack for fitness.

"He's had a good summer's rest, but he's done plenty of work and has been working well, so hopefully he's done enough," said Meade.

"I know it's quite a hard call for him first time back, but this has been the plan for a while and he seems to handle most ground.

"He might be better on a bigger track than this, that would be the one thing I'd be concerned about, but I hope he'll run a decent race."

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport