Hobbs targets National


RACING: Two of the most powerful yards in Britain are targeting next week's Listowel feature, the Guinness Kerry National.

Both Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs confirmed yesterday that they are likely to try to emulate Ferdy Murphy's victory with Mac's Supreme two years ago.

Hobbs said that, while Bouchasson will miss the race, the second topweight Gladiateur is being seriously considered for the prestigious three-mile handicap in eight days' time.

"He'll run if the ground is good. I've no idea who'll ride yet but it will either be a top Irish jockey or we'll see if someone is available over here," Hobbs said.

A spokesperson for Nicholls reported General Claremont a likely runner as the Somerset trainer tries to better last year's fourth with Galapait Du Mesnil.

The Topham winner It's Time For A Win tops the weights and is a likely runner if the weather breaks in the next week.

"We will have to see how the ground is. He certainly wouldn't run if it is good to firm. He is in great form and he should be able to carry the weight. He is certainly a possible runner," said Willie Mullins yesterday.

No jockey has yet been decided on for the Galway Plate winner Rockholm Boy. Keith Hadnett, who rode Rockholm Boy to Plate glory, is currently on the sidelines with a broken jaw.

Aidan O'Brien yesterday reported Van Nistelrooy none the worse for the loss of his unbeaten record in Sunday's National Stakes. "He seems fine but we will wait and see about giving him another race this season. It's possible he will run again," he said.

O'Brien's sole entry at Gowran today is the Danehill newcomer Legion Of Honour who is the second reserve for the opening maiden. If he gets in, he will be a danger to all but if not, then the Roscommon runner-up Colourfast looks the safest option.

An interesting contender for the juvenile fillies maiden is Automatic Racer who could be value against representatives from the Oxx and Weld yards.

This race was won by the subsequent 1,000 Guineas and Oaks winner Imagine two years ago and while Automatic Racer may not reach that class, she holds a major chance here.

Mr Wong followed up a Clonmel hurdles success with a smooth maiden win on the flat at Tipperary on Thursday. He could be still ahead of the game in the two mile handicap hurdle.

Dermot Weld said yesterday a final decision on whether or not Vinnie Roe will run in the Melbourne Cup won't be made until later in the week.

The dual Irish Leger winner entered quarantine along with his stable companion Media Puzzle, another Cup entry, on Sunday evening.

However, Weld continues to be concerned about the 12lb Vinnie Roe will have to concede to his old rival Pugin should both run in Australia on November 5th.