View from connections ahead of Sunday's feature Irish action

Raz De Maree
Raz De Maree

Get the view from connections and Man On The Spot tips for Sunday's feature action in Ireland.

Mullins' magnificent seven?

Galway Hurdle winner Sharjah heads a formidable team of seven from the Willie Mullins stable bidding for honours in the Irish Cesarewitch at Navan on Sunday.

Legal Spin, a full-brother to 2016 winner Laws Of Spin, takes his chance along with stablemates Chelkar, Nessun Dorma, Exchange Rate, Makitorix and Pleasure Dome.

Patrick Mullins gave the run down on the prospects of his father's seven runners.

"Sharjah was very disappointing the last day. He ran poorly at Leopardstown on the Flat, so we're just hoping he can return to his Galway form because he could be a high-class staying Flat horse if he does," he said.

"Chelkar ran very well at Royal Ascot and then disappointed in Galway. We just backed off him. Nothing serious came to light, so we freshened him up and hopefully he can return to his Ascot form.

"However, he does have a lot of weight, which does not make life easy for him, but he is built to carry weight.

"Nessun Dorma got a good form boost. He won the mile-and-a-half handicap at Galway and the filly (Princess Yaiza) that was second won a Group Two at Longchamp.

"Limini was third that day and she won a valuable handicap afterwards, so that looks a very strong piece of form. The concern with Nessun Dorma is, being by Canford Cliffs, whether he will be as effective over two miles.

"Exchange Rate won very impressively at Listowel where he was well-suited by conditions. His experience possibly cost him winning a valuable handicap in Killarney, where he got going too late.

"We are hoping with that experience behind him and with the extra trip he could go well. He's got a nice weight.

"Pleasure Dome is intriguing. He's the most unexposed of ours and it's his first run for us on the Flat. The trip and the track should suit.

"Makitorix was just beaten in a handicap at the Curragh, but was well-beaten last time at Listowel.

"Legal Spin disappointed on his last run, but he's only three and is a horse we think an awful lot of. He gets in right at the bottom of the weights and we are expecting a far better show than his last run.

"They've all got good chances."

Brex Drago has been in such tremendous form over hurdles, winning three times last month, that Gavin Cromwell is giving him this opportunity on the level.

"He's been great over hurdles and I thought we'd give him one shot at a big race on the Flat before the season ends," said the Navan handler.

"He seems in great form, so we thought we'd let him take his chance."

Man On The Spot verdict:

22
38-4OR: 92
25/1
Last RunWatch last race

Willie Mullins has won two of the last three renewals and has no-less than seven runners this year. Of those, Chelkar finished fourth over 2m4f in the Ascot Stakes in June, Exchange Rate won an amateurs race over 1m6f last time and Sharjah was placed in a Group 3 on the Flat before winning the valuable Galway Hurdle. Nessun Dorma has won his last two outings on the level but a speculative vote goes to LEGAL SPIN despite racing from out of the weights given the maiden winner is a brother to Laws Of Spin, who won this as a three-year-old in 2016. Ballydoyle last won this in 2014 and Cliffs Of Dooneen won over 2m at the Curragh in July while Jim Bolger’s Stellar Mass has a touch of class having placed in Group 3 contests. Rockabill has been raised 13lb as he bids for a hat-trick while both Newcross and Mr Everest have a shout representing Tony Martin and the latter beat Brazos at Listowel last month.

Maree seeks National repeat

Raz De Maree bids for his second victory in the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National on Sunday.

The popular veteran won the 2012 renewal of the prestigious Limerick feature when trained by the late Dessie Hughes and returns for another shot a the ripe old age of 13.

Raz De Maree was in second place when falling at the 10th fence in last year's renewal and went on to hit the heights in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow in January.

Gavin Cromwell's charge completed the course in the Grand National when 10th behind Tiger Roll at Aintree on his only subsequent start.

"We're hoping they get a bit of rain. He needs it a little bit softer," said Cromwell. "He's in great nick and we're hopeful of a decent run. He's had a good summer and we're optimistic."

Eric McNamara is confident Black Scorpion is ready to take up the challenge following his decisive victory at Listowel five weeks ago.

"He seems to be in great form and we think he has improved for his run in Listowel," said McNamara. "He'll get every yard of the three miles and we think he has a live chance."

Kevin Brouder created a good impression when steering Black Scorpion home last time and the 7lb-claiming conditional will again be in the plate.

"He rode him the last day and got on particularly well with him, so he holds on to the ride on him," McNamara added.

Gordon Elliott has five runners, including top-weight Alpha Des Obeaux and Rogue Angel, who was third in the Kerry National on his latest start.

Willie Mullins won this race last year with Total Recall, but only has a reserve this time in Steel Wave.

He did have Montalbano in at the five-day point, but he was taken out at the final declaration stage and will run in the preceding race instead, the PriceWaterhouseCooper Rated Chase.

The six-year-old faces five rivals as he attempts to back up last month's Ballinrobe success.

"Montalbano looks well treated by the weights," said Mullins' son and assistant, Patrick.

"At the ratings it looks a match with Tombstone. Hopefully our fella might be in better form at this stage of the season."

Paul Townend gets the leg up on Montalbano on a day when the Mullins team are delighted to see stable jockey Ruby Walsh back in the saddle after being sidelined through since August.

Walsh has two mounts, both in Listed contests over the smaller obstacles.

He starts with Getareason in the Dunraven Adare Novice Hurdle, followed by Good Thyne Tara in the Maurice Powers Solicitors EBF Mares Hurdle.

"It's great to have Ruby back. He's been riding work here the last 10 days, two weeks or so. He's fit and ready to go. Hopefully he can a get clear run," said Mullins junior.

"Good Thyne Tara should be hard to beat. She was very impressive in Gowran in a similar race.

"Getareason was unlucky the last day at Listowel. He had the race won and made a mistake at the last, so he's seeking compensation."

Man On The Spot verdict:

11
79-13OR: 129D
7/2
Last RunWatch last race

The heavily-backed Total Recall won this last year from Alpha Des Obeaux with Rogue Angel well beaten and Welsh National winner Raz De Maree, who won this in 2012, falling when beaten. The runner-up, who was trained by Mouse Morris, is now one of five from Gordon Elliott's yard in this and is probably being trained for another crack at the Grand National. Rogue Angel has also moved to Longwood Stables and looks to have had a new lease of life, finishing a fine third in the Kerry National at Listowel last month. The veteran Our Father is also a newcomer to the yard and though he'll be having his first start since finishing second at Cheltenham on New Year's Day 2015 he's exactly the type his new trainer does so well with and he could be thrown in. BLACK SCORPION has been racing over trips too short but was impressive when beating Kylecrue easily at Listowel and with his young rider able to claim his 7lb he looks well enough treated to go in again.


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