Raving about Raven

Steve Hughes has selections for the big race of the week at Listowel and the opening day of the Leger meeting at Doncaster

Things really step up a gear with the Kerry National at Listowel, the big race of the week at the Harvest Festival. I have two selections for the feature, plus selections from two races on the opening day on Town Moor.

Doncaster 3.00: Tis Marvellous

Whilst he was only fifth in listed company last time, Tis Marvellous has shown more than enough of late to suggest he is up to this grade and is worth another chance at Doncaster this afternoon.

He has excelled in sprints that favour hold up performers – particularly Ascot. A winner in the Shergar Cup in 2018, he was a fine second in the Wokingham this season, but showed he had the pace for 5f when winning the valuable handicap there last month.

He was also a good fourth at listed level here over 6f at the start of the season. Trainer Clive Cox is in much better form now though and I thought he was a bit unlucky at Beverley last time where he got a bit stuck in on the rail at a crucial point of the race. This straight track will be far more in his favour and with El Astronaute in the field we can expect a true pace even with a smallish field.

Listowel 4.15: Ravenhill & Poker Party

The highlight of the year at Listowel and this year’s field looks particularly strong. I have two suggestions.

First choice must be Ravenhill who I thought was unlucky in the Galway Plate. The first furlong is always crucial in that race to the first fence and Ravenhill missed out badly in getting shuffled right to the back. In the circumstances he did well to finish a never nearer fifth. He is better judged on his win at Limerick previously when up in the van throughout. He remains unexposed over fences and should improve for the extra 2f too.

Poker Party really came of age over fences from Christmas onwards after an inauspicious start over the bigger obstacles. He was second at the big meeting at Leopardstown over the festive period. He then went on to win twice at Naas before placing third at Punchestown. He lost his jockey very early on in the Plate at Galway, but promises to do just as well If not better upped to 3m here.

Doncaster 5.20: Han Solo Berger

He might not be the easiest to win with, but Han Solo Berger has everything in his favour – fast ground, a big field and almost guaranteed fast pace and he should get plenty of cover from his middle draw.

He is in form too having won last time out at Newmarket, being expertly nursed home by Tom Queally. The ex-Frankel pilot retains the ride today and the selection is only 2lbs higher today.

Apart from one poor run over 6f when he raced too free, Han Solo Berger has been in fine form all summer. He ran up a hat-trick of second places in mid season, including at this venue in June. He does need things to fall right, but this keen racer will surely get the strong pace to help him settle and give Queally something to aim him at late on.

Recommended bets:

1pt win – Tis Marvellous – 3.00 Doncaster – 6/4 general

1pt each-way – Ravenhill – 4.15 Listowel – 10/1 general (1/5 odds 1st 5)

0.5pts each-way – Poker Party – 4.15 Listowel – 14/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)

0.75pts each-way – Han Solo Berger – 5.20 Doncaster – 9/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)

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