The Munster National, to be run at Limerick Racecourse on Sunday next, will again carry the name of John Thomas McNamara. For the second year, the €100,000 event will commemorate the legendary local amateur rider who partnered 602 winners on the point-to-point circuit alone but whose considerable talent reached a much wider audience with his many high-profile wins on the racecourse, particularly at the Punchestown and Cheltenham Festivals, in a long and successful career.
Three previous winners feature among the 40 entries for the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National, up from 36 in 2016. Tiger Roll gave Gordon Elliott his first win in the race last year and has been allotted 11st 3lbs this time. Elliott’s narrow Guinness Kerry National winner Potters Point has been handed 11st while his team also includes the 2016 TheTote.com Galway Plate winner Lord Scoundrel on 11st 5lbs and A Toi Phil, fourth in this season’s Galway Plate and fifth in the Guinness Kerry National on 11st 3lbs.
Stellar Notion (10st 6lbs) chased home Tiger Roll in the race last year and is one of five entries for Henry de Bromhead. The Co. Waterford trainer was successful with Sadler’s Risk in the race in 2015 and the nine-year-old has 11st 3lbs this year. Devils Bride is the highest rated of the De Bromhead quintet on 11st 5lbs while at the other end of the handicap, the Galway festival winner Riviera Sun has 9st 8lbs.
Mouse Morris is a six-time winner of the race and is another with five entries led by Alpha Des Obeaux and Thunder And Roses on 10st 11lbs. Dromnea, successful in the Southampton Goodwill Chase at the Listowel festival has 10st 3lbs while Baily Moon, a winner over the course and distance in July, is on 9st 8lbs.
Willie Mullins has put four horses in the race as he bids to win the Munster National for the first time. Shaneshill, runner-up in TheTote.com Galway Plate, tops the overall weights on 11st 10lbs while the champion trainer might also be represented by Total Recall (9st 9lbs) which joined him after the retirement of Sandra Hughes earlier in the summer. Joseph O’Brien has also made four entries, headed by his Galway Plate third Slowmotion (10st 10lbs) and the Guinness Kerry National runner-up Arkwrisht on 10st 4lbs. Katnap, sixth at Navan on Saturday on his first start since finishing second over the Grand National fences in the Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase at Aintree in April, has 9st 13lbs.
The third previous winner to hold an entry is Shanpallas, one of three horses entered by local trainer Charles Byrnes. Successful in 2014, Shanpallas is on 10st 3lbs while Rock On Fruity has 9st 8lbs after his wins in the Galway Plate Trial Handicap Chase here in July and at Kilbeggan earlier in September. Phil’s Magic, trained by Tony Martin, was third to Rock On Fruity in July and has since been successful in the Midlands National at Kilbeggan before just losing out to Riviera Sun at Ballybrit. He is on 9st 9lbs.