sport

Munster tester for McNamara

Kerry National runner-up Questions Answered aims to go one place better in a wide-open Ladbrokes Munster National at Limerick on Sunday.

The seven-year-old was considered a major contender for last month's Listowel feature, but trainer Eric McNamara instead saw his lesser-fancied stablemate Faltering Fullback run out a surprise winner.

Questions Answered still ran a highly creditable race and with ground likely to be similarly testing this weekend, McNamara is anticipating a bold show.

"He seems to have been in particularly good form since Listowel. He's in great shape," said the trainer.

"We fancied this fellow more than the other horse in the Kerry National, but that's racing. Faltering Fullback came back to form and won well on the day.

"He'll handle the ground, he'll get the trip, he has a nice racing weight and a good jockey (Robbie Power), so there are a lot of plusses.

"It's just a question of whether he's good enough on the day. He went up 6lb for his last run, which doesn't help.

"That last run was his first chase for a long time, so you'd hope he might have improved a bit."

Leading owners Gigginstown House Stud head into the race with a strong hand of three runners.

Retained jockey Davy Russell has opted to ride Michael Hourigan-trained top-weight Mr Cracker, who has form at Grade One level but has been sidelined since April of last year.

"He hasn't run for a year and a half and he's had his problems, but it's great to have him back," said Hourigan.

"Hopefully he'll run all right but having been off so long, he'll obviously take the run."

The Gigginstown colours are also carried by Four Commanders and Start Me Up.

Four Commanders was pulled up when favourite for the Irish Grand National in the spring, but previously ran an excellent third in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Mouse Morris said: "He didn't run up to his best in the Irish National but that was after a long season and he's in good form now.

"He normally runs well when he's fresh, so we're just hoping for a bit of luck."

Start Me Up was third in the Kerry National last time, with Nina Carberry taking over in the saddle from Russell.

"I'm hoping he'll run a good race. Davy didn't pick him, though. That's the only thing I'm a bit worried about," said trainer Charlie Swan.

"But Nina rode him in the Kim Muir and won three bumpers on him as well.

"The ground will be fine and he seems to be back to his best, so fingers crossed."

Other interesting contenders in a 19-runner field Themoonandsixpence, Cross Appeal and British raider Qhilimar.