This may sound strange in a three mile handicap chase – but the last thing you need to win a Kerry National is the slow, staying type.
I’ve been lucky enough to win this race four times in my career and the common denominator is that they were all horses who had gears.
It has been unbelievably dry for September and with Listowel’s tight, inside track, you need a handy type of horse with plenty of pace to win.
Just look at confirmed stayer Carlingford Lough last year. He won a Galway Plate, got beaten here by White Star Line but proved he was the best horse in the race by winning two Group Ones later in the season.
A few of the Galway Plate cast turn up again here, including AP McCoy’s mount Alderwood. He was eventually backed into favourite at Ballybrit before finishing eighth and Tom Mullins’ former Grand Annual Chase winner could be the class act in this feature.
Even though he carries top weight he’s not overburdened with 11-7 and revels on good ground.
Burn and Turn and Balnaslow could be involved in the shake-up having finished second and third to Road to Riches in the Galway Plate.
I fancied Balnaslow at Ballybrit and he should bounce back from running a stinker at Killarney (he’s been working well at Willie’s (Mullins) since then). He was pulled up there behind Arthur Moore’s Pass the Hat – who’s a very interesting contender in his own right off a nice weight.
Lady in waiting …
Leading owner JP McManus could have five in the line-up and his Jacksonslady is a real live contender.
She had the pace to win over 2m 1f at Leopardstown’s 2012 Christmas meeting and the ground was too soft when she was 11th in this race last year after finishing third to Carlingford Lough in the Galway Plate.
Barry Geraghty rode her to win the 2m 6f Latin Quarter Chase at Galway this year and she ticks all the boxes for me as the likely winner.
In the remaining races, AP McCoy could be set for a double aboard the Aidan O’Brien pair Shield (5.15pm) and Egyptian (5.45pm) while my sister Katie has a live chance on Thomas Ledger (6.15pm) in the bumper.