'Dylan' can call National tune

A horse with a racially offensive name ran at Wolverhampton on Saturday (stock photo)

Michael Verney

The Guinness may not be flowing on track for today's Kerry National (4.30) in Listowel but many punters will be hoping that Doctor Duffy can deliver the goods in the €150,000 feature.

Charles Byrnes' seven-year-old (10-12) has gotten the hang of things over fences with his Mayo National success a sign of what may be to come, but no favourite has prevailed in the last decade of a thoroughly competitive event.

Only two winners have also successfully carried 11-5 or more to victory during that time in a three-mile contest which sees last year's winning duo of Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore combine with Spyglass Hill (10-13). Spyglass Hill didn't put his best foot forward when pulled up in the Galway Plate but is still unexposed over the larger obstacles, while stablemate Plan Of Attack (10-6) is another of interest after a decent fourth in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Another with Festival form is Gordon Elliott's National Hunt Cup winner Ravenhill (11-6) with a stamina test sure to suit but the lack of a recent run is a worry, while Galway Plate third Cabaret Queen (10-9) may prove best of Willie Mullins' trio.

A chance is taken at a big price on Dermot McLoughlin's Freewheelin Dylan (10-7), however, with the eight-year-old delivering a career best when making all in the Kilbeggan National in July on his last start over fences.

Two subsequent outings over hurdles didn't go to plan but the course and distance winner should be there at the finish if prominent under Ricky Doyle and he rates as a strong each-way contender in an open renewal.

Elliott's Malone Road, which has long been touted as a potential superstar, is the big attraction on the undercard and all eyes will be on him as Jack Kennedy's mount bids to keep his unbeaten record in the Seamus Mulvaney Bookmaker Novice Hurdle (2.45) .

Meanwhile, Fozzy Stack's Lady Wannabe (14/1) dropped down from Group One company to take the Listed Listowel Stakes in good style yesterday with Chris Hayes' mount delivering a powerful finish to score by just under two lengths at the north Kerry track.

Elsewhere, the British racing industry is facing a "severe threat" if, as stated by prime minister Boris Johnson, crowds are not allowed back on racecourses for another six months.

Warwick staged a successful pilot scheme on Monday but plans to get spectators back to UK sporting events from October 1 have been shelved in response to a national resurgence in coronavirus infection rates.

Racing's triumvirate of leadership bodies (British Horseracing Authority, Racecourse Association and Horsemen's Group) delivered the stark warning after Johnson's announcement.

A statement read: "The delay to the public's return to sporting events is a serious blow to the horse racing industry and the people who depend upon it. Our industry is facing a severe threat."

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