The Munster National is always an extremely competitive and well-contested event, read on for expert analysis and tips on the runners for this €59,000 prize.
IN SUMMARY: ROCK ON FRUITY has very much run into form as of late including when second in a useful Grade 3 contest, this extra distance will suit and he should go close. Alpha Des Obeaux would be bang there if repeating his 2016 form and the Kerry National second Arkwrisht should be involved too.
1 ALPHA DES OBEAUX – A brilliant hurdler who has yet to quite match that form over fences, he is ten pounds lower in this discipline and has begun to burst blood vessels during his races but if rediscovering anything like his second to Thistlecrack in the 2016 Stayer’s Hurdle he’d be in a different world to most of these.
2 SLOWMOTION – A consistent mare who has done well in big field handicaps such as this since making the switch to fences, high enough in the weights now and certainly didn’t look chucked in when well-beaten in the Kerry National but one with an each-way chance.
3 ROGUE ANGEL – Pulled up on his last two starts and well-beaten in all his starts since winning the Irish Grand National in very game fashion by a short head in 2016, he’s dropped down the weights slightly as a result of his recent form but that is warranted and he has questions to answer here.
4 STELLAR NOTION – Pulled up on his last three starts including his seasonal reappearance, some pieces of his form entitle him to respect such as his neck second to the high class A Toi Phil but it’s likely that he’ll struggle here again.
5 ARKWRISHT – A very unlucky loser in the Kerry National, this progressive chaser is likely to play a big part in his off seven pounds higher if putting in a clear round of jumping. He could well remain ahead of his mark and has the very talented JJ Slevin claiming three pounds off his back, very interesting.
6 RAZ DE MAREE – An admirable campaigner whose most recent day in the sun came when winning the Cork National last year, he struggled towards the back end of last season however and coming off a break he is vulnerable.
7 DROMNEA – Ran out a comfortable winner of a 2m 4f chase last time ahead of the veteran Hidden Cyclone but those type of trips seem to bring out the best in him, he may be improving still but will need to do so especially over this longer to be seriously involved.
8 SHANPALLAS – Won this race this race off two pounds lower three years ago but hasn’t tasted victory over fences since, he is certainly opposable on that basis but it’s always dangerous to rule out a previous winner – especially trained by Charles Byrnes.
9 ON FIDDLER’S GREEN – Beaten twenty-six lengths when reappearing at Punchestown but followed that up with a very easy win over today’s rival Auvergnat over three miles on soft ground. Was sent off 2/1 favourite for his latest start when evidently much better was expected – same mark here and not one to give up on just yet.
10 TULSA JACK – Warmed up for this over hurdles the last twice but was beaten a long way behind Auvergnat back in May at Killarney and has it all to do to reverse that form and get involved here, this is a very competitive race and he may be vulnerable to one or two that are more progressive.
11 KING LEON – Pulled up when never looking like getting competitive at all in the Kerry National and could continue to struggle here, doesn’t look to have much in hand on his current mark and would really need to if he were to be getting involved.
12 AUVERGNAT – Beaten by On Fiddler’s Green earlier in the year but has a notable swing in the weights with that one today, comes here in very good form having won two of his last four including a second at the Cheltenham Festival, a mark of 130 looks within his reach and he must have a solid chance.
13 NET DECOSSE – A consistent sort who has gone close a number of times recently, he’s been placed in his last five starts that he has stood up in and is admirable but doesn’t look to have much breathing room off his current mark – others more obvious.
14 PHIL’S MAGIC – It is never wise to discount a Tony Martin runner in these big handicaps and the same goes for this one, won the Midland’s National at Kilbeggan and followed up with an excellent second at Galway, up nine pounds since his win so more on his plate but must be respected.
15 TOTAL RECALL – One of the most interesting runners in a very hot race, extremely well backed in the antepost markets this gelding makes his first start for the inform Willie Mullins off a 224 day break, he is up in trip here and must be respected for his mastermind trainer.
16 ROCK ON FRUITY – The pick of the Byrnes trio having been narrowly touched off in a Grade 3 over what was probably slightly too short of a trip, that will have put him spot on for this and he looks to have a massive chance based on that, his chances are only improved by the fact he’s a course winner.
R17 RIVIERA SUN – Struggled with a six pound rise last time having won at Galway the time before and doesn’t look overly well handicapped, wouldn’t be without an each way chance but others are more appealing.
R18 TOP OF THE TOWN – Part of the famous gamble that Charles Byrnes landed at Roscommon last year and won a maiden chase earlier in the season, has very much struggled for form since then and others are preferred.
R19 THE WINKLER – Not won since 2016 and has been struggling of late, the handicapper hasn’t really relented and he might continue to struggle off this mark in the near future.