Wednesday’s best bets, by Chris Cook
How interesting to see Rogue Angel sneak in at the bottom of the weights for today’s Kerry National, following the withdrawal of another in the same ownership. Here’s a doughty old handicap chaser who seems to be reviving after a switch from Mouse Morris to Gordon Elliott … wait a minute, haven’t I seen this movie before?
Folsom Blue is the previous example I have in mind, though there may be others. He made the same move last summer and recovered some of his old form to win a valuable pot at Punchestown. Rogue Angel ran second at Kilbeggan on his first start for Elliott and I can see why he’s fancied to go one better at Listowel today.
But, at 12-1, I’d much rather take his stablemate Timiyan (4.20), who got up to win the Kilbeggan race by a head. This seven-year-old was trying three miles for the first time that day and was understandably switched off at the back by Mark Walsh but he moved past his rivals at will in the style of a horse who belonged in a higher grade.
This time, Elliott reaches for a promising young claimer in Darragh O’Keeffe and of course that might backfire, but the last three Kerry Nationals have also been won by inexperienced riders. Soft ground is more of a concern but I feel the risk of him not coping is built into the odds with more to spare. He’s a progressive Gordon Elliott youngster at the foot of the weights and that’s an attractive profile for any major handicap chase in Ireland.
Heavy going at Carlisle is going to be a factor all afternoon. I wonder if it might help the in-form Michael Dods to get a double.
His Mustaqbal (2.00) hasn’t had a surface like this since beating 15 rivals at Haydock in April and he’s only 2lb higher this time. He also won on soft at Ayr last autumn and turned in the second-best performance of his career (judged by Racing Post Ratings) when second over this course and distance a couple of years ago.
He’s 7-2 against a favourite, Im Dapper Too, whose stable hasn’t had a winner since June.
Later, Dods fields a 20-1 shot in Le Chat D’Or (4.50), who is certainly getting on a bit at the age of 10 but has managed to win in each of the last two years. He’ll be better for a recent spin here, his first run for four months, and now gets a testing surface for the first time this year. He’s back down to a rating of 83 for the first time since he scored at Ayr last summer.