Eric McNamara’s Ponmeoth is spot-on to rack up an incredible third consecutive victory in the Guiness Kerry National at Listowel tomorrow.
Although he is 18lb higher in the handicap for his first victory in 2007, and 10lb higher than a year ago, it is more the matter of having to carry 11st 7lb that concerns the trainer, who is based in Limerick, the next county along from the Kerry venue.
Ponmeoth has not won since last year’s event but had a satisfactory pipe-opener in a recent hurdle at Galway.
“He seems in good form and his preparation has been exactly the same as for the last couple of years,” said McNamara.
“He’s 10lb higher than last year, but I think the bigger factor is top weight as he’s a handy horse and it will make life difficult.
“The ground should be about yielding, which should be perfect for him and should help him to carry the weight.
“He’s a very straightforward horse who is very sound and has been lucky for us. I’d love to find another one like him.”
McNamara also fields Dashing George, who has not run since the spring.
He continued: “Dashing George won a novice chase nicely at Listowel this time last year when the ground was very heavy.
“The more it dries out, the less chance he has. If it was pretty soft, with the light weight he has, we’d feel he had a great chance.”
David Pipe acknolwedges the task facing Star Of Germany but labelled the Bob Brookhouse-owned nine-year-old as a “superstar”.
He has won three of his last four starts, rising 20lb in the handicap in the process, and landed a valuable pot at Newton Abbot on his latest outing.
“He’s a superstar of a horse who has kept on improving and the drier the ground, the better for him,” said Pipe.
“It’s going to be very hard going to Ireland and trying to win in their back yard.
“The ground is drying out but it will be interesting to see what it rides like.
“He steps up to three miles for the first time – he got two miles, five well round Newton Abbot last time – so hopefully the trip won’t be a problem.
“He seems in good form. It will be very hard to win over there but we are going because it is very good prize-money.”