Gordon Elliott’s Jury Duty is 6/1 favourite for Wednesday’s Kerry National at the Listowel Harvest Festival, as the trainer fields three runners in a bid for a third successive victory in the €200,000 handicap chase.
Billed as the last big test of the summer, or perhaps the first of the winter, the Kerry National is a Grade A handicap chase run over 3m, and always ranked the biggest betting event of Listowel’s seven-day horse racing meeting.
The profile of Kerry National winners is changing as the quality increases, but some Kerry National betting trends remain key pointers. Based on analysis of the past 14 renewals, the Kerry National winner is a second or third season chaser, aged no older than eight, who has won one to four chases (14/14), including over at least 2m3f (13/14).
A Kerry National winner has also run in a Graded chase (13/14), but no more than eight handicap chases, possibly including the same year’s Galway Plate, and maybe the previous year’s Kerry National - 20% from that latter group having placed, two of them winning, though a long time ago.
Winners generally carry less than 11st, but the last six winners carried 10st 4lbs or less, five of those carrying a maximum of 10st, and three of them being assisted by a claiming rider. Horses rated 140 or more have placed just once from 24 runs in the past 14 years.
Applying those rules, Call It Magic, and Timiyan stand out in the Kerry National betting. Accounting for increasing ratings year-on-year, Slowmotion, rated 141, would still fit the bill on Kerry National trends, and the nine-year-olds Bay Of Freedom and Dell’ Arca are also shortlisted.
On trends, the best bet for the Kerry National is the outsider Call It Magic. The eight-year-old won a handicap chase over a similar distance at Galway last October, and was still in fourth four fences from home in the Irish Grand National, before stamina told and he finished seventh.
The ground is in his favour at Listowel and Call It Magic is a massive 25/1 to win the Kerry National. Well worth an each-way punt with 10Bet.
Trainer Gordon Elliott’s favourite Jury Duty will struggle under top weight, though the booking of Grand National-winning rider Robbie Power is eye-catching.
Bottom-weight Timiyan won a maiden hurdle on heavy ground at Listowel two years ago and comes into the Kerry National after a first chase victory in the Midlands National at Kilbeggan. He has gone up a whopping 10lbs for that, but Jockey Darragh O’Keeffe takes 7lbs back off with his claim, so he’s not without a chance at 14/1 with Ladbrokes.
Elliott’s third runner is Midlands National second Rogue Angel, getting in as the first reserve, and set to be ridden by this season’s leading rider Rachael Blackmore. He won the Kerry National in 2015 on heavy ground, and is now rated 1lb less than he was then.
He is miles out on trends, but seems to be a 10-year-old remarkably back in a groove after switching to Elliott’s yard, and that is reflected in his rather slim price of 8/1 to win the Kerry National with Coral. Of the favourites, he is the best bet.
Owner JP McManus has four runners, led by 8/1 second favourite Blazer. The Willie Mullins-trained Frenchbred handles testing conditions and is consistent in high-level handicaps, but McManus’s retained rider Barry Geraghty has plumped for Slowmotion.
A Listed and Grade 3 chase winner, the six-year-old is more proven beyond 2m4f than Blazer, having finished third in last year’s Galway Plate and sixth this year, but she could manage only eighth in last year’s Kerry National.
Nevertheless, Slowmotion has dropped to almost a career-low handicap chase mark and is a classy mare that makes some appeal at 14/1 with 10Bet, McManus also running the aforementioned Timiyan, and Oscar Knight.
Bay Of Freedom comes alive at Listowel, whatever form he has shown previously. Last year he finished third in the Kerry National after finishing his winter season with a non-complete, and reappearing to be well-beaten over hurdles at Tipperary.
The previous year he won a beginner’s chase at Listowel after pulling up at Galway and this year he lines up having finished almost last in a comeback run over hurdles at Wexford.
You can rely on this nine-year-old at Listowel, and his odds don’t reflect that. Bay Of Freedom has gone up in the weights since last year, but still looks good value at 18/1 to win the Kerry National with Karamba.