Past Winners » Intense Raffles


The market did finally cotton onto the fact that the weights were going up by 11lb, that a lot of the fancied horses would have plenty of weight and that We’llhavewan was getting into the handicap on a lovely racing weight.  Paul Townend was always going to ride Nick Rockett, but the booking of Kieran Callaghan is a positive.  He is big value for his 5lb claim.

I can see the case for old friend Favori De Champdou, we had him on side when he won the Florida Pearl Chase in November, and this is his first time going right-handed since.  His record under Rules going right reads 211421.  But I just prefer Intense Raffles.

He has been on my mind for the Irish National since February, for all the reasons outlined during the week. The raising of the weights means that he has 11st 4lb to carry, and that is more than ideal, but it is just on the cusp, Our Duke carried 11st 4lb, Commanche Court carried 11st 4lb.

Also, there isn’t the class depth in the Irish National that there usually is.  The bottom weight is rated 120, in a race in which you usually need to be rated in the mid-130s in order to get a run.  It may be that the class of Intense Raffles will win over absolute weight carried.

He has won his two chases for Tom Gibney, he jumped the Fairyhouse fences well twice.  He stayed an extended three miles last time, yet he had the pace to win over a mile and a half in France on the flat and over two and a quarter miles over hurdles.  He goes well on soft ground, and he has been prepared for the race from a long way out by a man who won it in 2012 with 33/1 shot Lion Na Bearnai.  And it had to have been difficult for the handicapper to put a rating on him after just two runs.  He could be far better than a 140-rated horse.