Talking Horses: Robin De Carlow looks good value at Irish National


Only two winners of the Irish Grand National this century have carried 11st or more to victory and both Our Duke and Commanche Court were classy enough to run in a Cheltenham Gold Cup later on in their careers.

The 11st-plus runners do not look up to that standard this year, so those with lower weights could be the ones to shortlist in a maximum field of 30 starters.

Joseph O’Brien’s Sempo is an unknown quantity and has looked potentially high-class at times in his novice season but 9-1 is very short for a runner who remains a maiden over fences.

Brace Yourself is a more attractive each-way price for Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan but, at around 20-1, it may be worth trusting in Willie Mullins’s ability to have Robin De Carlow ready for this test after 547 days on the sidelines.

Her latest start was a defeat of the recent Champion Chase winner, Put The Kettle On, at Tipperary in October 2019, and Mullins would not be pitching the eight-year-old in here – and with Rachael Blackmore booked to ride – unless he felt she would do herself justice.

Monday’s tips
Fairyhouse 2.40 Jeff Kidder was the longest-priced winner at the Cheltenham Festival since Norton’s Coin in the Gold Cup when he landed the Fred Winter at 80-1 but, even taken literally, that form still gives him something to find with Teahupoo. Denise Foster’s unbeaten juvenile was steered around the Festival with Monday’s race in mind.

Kempton Park 2.55 This promises to be little more than an exercise canter for Kestenna. Still among John & Thady Gosden’s 1,000 Guineas entries, she finished nine-lengths clear with any amount in hand at Wolverhampton last time.

Fairyhouse 3.15 As wide-open as handicap hurdles get, but Kellyiscool looked all over the winner until the closing stages over three miles last time and could appreciate Monday’s switch back to two-and-three-quarters.

Kempton Park 3.30 Several promising colts with eye-catching entries take each other on, including Roger Varian’s El Drama who is still engaged in the 2,000 Guineas, Dante and Derby. Preference though is for the Frankel colt Mostahdaf, an easy winner on debut who should continue to progress for today’s step up to a mile.

Fairyhouse 3.50 Beacon Edge was travelling as well as any of Flooring Porter’s pursuers with two to jump in the Stayers’ Hurdle last time but was still within six lengths of the winner at the line despite not staying on as strongly as a couple of his rivals. Back at two and a half miles, he should be able to give 5lb to The Bosses Oscar, the runner-up in the Pertemps Hurdle.

Kempton Park 4.02 Likely favourite Amniarix has made rapid progress on the all-weather over the winter but comes up against a different calibre of opponent here. Fooraat in particular was campaigned like a Group-class filly in strong races at Epsom, Newmarket and Deauville last year, and caught the eye on several occasions despite failing to make the frame. She won first time up at two and three and can kick off her four-year-old campaign with another success.

Fairyhouse 4.20 Fakir D’Oudairies returns to action only 18 days after finishing runner-up in the Ryanair at the Festival, but that is the only concern as he returns to the track and trip where he registered his only Grade One victory to date.

Kempton 4.35 Prince Imperial could offer some value at around 8-1 against the warm favourite Postileo. Richard Hughes’s runner looks as likely to improve for this step up to two miles as the market leader, if not more so, and posted a good time when successful at Bath on his final start at three.