The 2020 Kerry National takes place over 3-miles at Listowel Racecourse on Wednesday 23 September. It is a competitive Grade-A handicap chase with 18 runners, and the winner picks up a tasty 90,000 Euros. Top Irish trainers have farmed the last few editions of the Kerry National and several of them are represented this year.
Henry de Bromhead won the 2019 renewal, and he saddles three runners this year. Kuptana is a former point winner who runs over 3-miles for the first time under rules and it could suit. Regular stable jockey Rachael Blackmore rides Spyglass Hill and he was well-backed before disappointing at Galway.
But the stable’s shortest-priced runner is Plan Of Attack. Blackmore’s absence from the saddle may not be significant, as she’s not ridden him for ages, but the booking of Robbie Power suggests a big run is expected from a horse that was last seen finishing fourth at the Cheltenham Festival.
Willie Mullins also saddles three runners, though he hasn’t won this race since 2006, something which may be attributed to his horses often peaking from November onwards. Robin Des Foret has been considered better over shorter so far, while Blazer sports first-time cheekpieces in a bid to bring about some improvement. Stable jockey Paul Townend prefers Cabaret Queen, but she remains on a much higher mark than her last winning one.
Noel Meade won the 2018 edition, but Cap York is also 6lb higher than for his last win. Three Musketeers represents dual Kerry national winning trainer Gordon Elliott, and has won off much higher marks, but remains an absolute villain. Elliott’s second runner Ravenhill finished second last year but is 14lb higher, though his claiming jockey reduces his burden by 7lb.
Another horse that ran in last year’s race is Internal Transfer and he returns on the same mark after finishing fourth. His wins have come over shorter trips, so the fact he faded late on last year must be a concern, but this year’s drier ground may help him. But this year’s race looks a better contest.
Doctor Duffy is our Kerry National tip. He’s looked a serious chaser in the making when winning his last two starts and, though he’s now 10lb higher in a better race, there could be plenty of improvement left in the tank. He gets 12lb from topweight Peregrine Run yet was only beaten half-a-length giving that horse 10lb when they met over hurdles last summer. I also love his form at Listowel, where he would have won a bumper in a canter but for clipping heels and slipping up. He also ran well behind Darver Star here last September and that horse finished third in the Champion Hurdle.
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