Preview listowel 14th Sep

Wed 13th Sep 2017, 11:20

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Swamp Fox must concede plenty of weight all round in the Ladbrokes Ireland Handicap Hurdle at Listowel on Thursday.

Joe Murphy's grand servant won back-to-back races in this sphere at Ballinrobe and Killarney before occupying the runner-up berth in the big amateur riders' race on the level at Galway and then returning just three days later to go agonisingly close in the Galway Hurdle.

He has come a long way since landing the Lartigue Hurdle at this fixture 12 months ago but has 11st 12lb to contend with, with in-form rivals such as the hat-trick seeking Davids Charm among the opposition.

Lagostovegas and Top Othe Ra fought out a finish at Killarney recently and are also among the leading contenders.

Coquin Mans is an exciting jumping prospect for Willie Mullins, but the champion trainer switches him to the Flat for the Island (Q.R.) Race.

The French import has won all three starts over timber since coming to Ireland and could be set for a big winter.

Nelson Road prevailed in a tight finish at Down Royal last week and reappears under a penalty in the Behans Horseshoe Bar & Restaurant Handicap.

Considering his narrow winning margin, the extra 6lb could prove his undoing, and a back-to-form Bayan might be better treated.

Monday's surprise scorer Intense Stylist has her second run of the 2017 Harvest Festival in the Byrne Family Handicap, whereas West Coast Time hasn't been seen since struggling in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham but still has plenty of potential and Joseph O'Brien has chosen the MAC Fuels & General Supplies Maiden as his point of return.

His stablemate Exactoris is an interesting newcomer to fences in the Kevin McManus Beginners Chase, while Mullins' Ben Button goes for a three-timer in the Devon Inn Hotel Handicap Hurdle, and Kupa River and Shamad can't be split on ratings ahead of the opening Follow Listowel Races On Twitter Maiden (2.05).

Might Bite To Prove His Worth Next Season

There is not much attention given to national hunt racing in the summer months, by punters or by the media. It is, of course, understandable given that our attention is focused on the flat season: the action at Royal Ascot, the Classics and the rest of the elements that define the summer racing season. Some punters might have a dabble at an ante post bet for Cheltenham next year, but by and large we forget about it until the autumn.

THE IRISH TIMES