Hill earns crack at Kerry National

A tilt at the Guinness Kerry National in Listowel is on the cards for the Philip Fenton-trained Caim Hill following his gutsy victory in the Castleview Homes Mullacurry Cup Handicap Hurdle in Bellewstown last evening.

The versatile nine-year-old, ridden by Brian O’Connell, held the late challenge of Cnoc Na Sioga by a length and a quarter and delighted his trainer, who commented: “He ran no sort of race in Galway — I still don’t know why. But Brian said he was enjoying himself all the way today.”

“He’s been a good money-spinner and is very versatile. He’ll go back over fences now. I think we’ll have a crack at the Kerry National.”

Davy Condon, rider of runner-up Cnoc Na Sioga, picked-up a two-day whip ban.

Tom Taaffe and Barry Geraghty, who shared in the success of Uponthe Hoof in the three-mile www.thetote.com Maiden Hurdle, were both in double form, Taaffe also saddling Heaney (Paul Townend) to land the Indaver Handicap Hurdle while Geraghty landed a gamble (5/1 to 7/2) on the Robbie Hennessy-trained Rawnaq in the Lougher Stables Handicap Hurdle.

Probably more significant was the victory of Uponthe Hoof, partly owned by English golfer Lee Westwood (busy shooting 69 in the first round of The Barclays at Beth Page) and his manager Andrew Chubby Chandler. Left in command when Hello Louie crashed at the second last, Geraghty’s mount held the challenge of Roadtoabbeyfeale by a neck, despite wandering under pressure on the run-in, and then survived a Stewards Enquiry.

Odds-on favourite Shadow Eile (Andrew McNamara) was made to work hard for victory by Spring Hawk in the opening Mares Hurdle and will now revert to the flat, possibly in the Irish Cesarewitch.


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