Ponmeoath powers to National double

Ponmeoath secured back-to-back successes for trainer Eric McNamara as he powered away with the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel.

Ponmeoath secured back-to-back successes for trainer Eric McNamara as he powered away with the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel.

The 9-1 chance was without a victory since taking this valuable prize 12 months ago but was racing off a light weight due to the presence of the highly-rated Mister Top Notch at the head of the handicap.

The eight-year-old travelled strongly under Paddy Flood throughout the three-mile event, moving into contention going down the back straight.

As British challenger and long-time leader Openide dropped away, Ponmeoath took over from Oulart and although the latter stayed on gallantly up the straight, Ponmeoath pinged the final fence and was three lengths to the good at the line.

McNamara said: “This is the one race that I really wanted to win and I am thrilled to do it for the second time.

“It was always the plan to come here and he ran a nice prep race at Cork last time. He really comes alive after a run and he’s been working really well the last two weeks.

“Paddy gets on well with this horse and he jumps particularly well for him. He’s a superb jockey and that was a fantastic ride.

“The plan would have been to wait a bit longer but he was going so well that Paddy had no option.

“He’s not an out-and-out stayer but he’s a classy horse, a very good jumper and the weight was a big help.

“We will probably enter him for the Munster National and the Paddy Power at Leopardstown at Christmas now but today was really the plan.”

Dusty Sheehy’s Garrai Ard showed no ill effects after finishing second at the track on Tuesday when running away with the Ballygarry House Hotel Novice Hurdle.

The mare was sent off a 5-1 chance under Ruby Walsh and responded to the jockey’s urgings to move up and challenge the leaders on the run to the final flight.

A fine leap left her clear of her nearest rival Oscar Time and she bounded up the run-in to score by 10 lengths.

Sheehy said: “She’s a hardy lady. She possibly got there a little bit too soon yesterday but ran a cracker.

“She’s very honest and we will give her a break now before possibly going over fences with her.”

Glenquest (14-1) got his head in front for the first time with a determined display under Kevin Coleman in the Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health Maiden Hurdle.

Winning trainer Terence O’Brien said: “I first had a licence a few years ago but I stopped for a while and took it out again last year.

“This is my first winner since and while the horse has decent point-to-point form, I thought he may need the run but he has turned out fitter than I expected.

“I currently have 18 horses in training but most of them are pointers.”

I Don’t Know made light of top-weight with a decisive victory in the Labrokes Ireland Handicap Hurdle, giving jockey Davy Russell his first winner since breaking his wrist at Ballinrobe in July.

Russell went on to complete a double in comfortable fashion as Mullicagh Lass swept her rivals aside in the Lynch’s Bakery Handicap Hurdle, scoring by 18 lengths.

Winning trainer Declan Leigh said: “She’s a lot better on this type of ground and the key is to run her fresh so we will give her another break again now.”

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