Faltering Fulback gallops to Listowel glory19/09/2012 - 18:04:54
Outsider Faltering Fulback led a one-two for trainer Eric McNamara in the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel.
The County Limerick handler, who also saddled his dual winner Ponmeoath in the three-mile feature, sent out the runner-up Questions Answered for good measure.
Not only was Faltering Fullback a 33-1 shot, having failed to win since at this meeting three years ago, but he only got in as second reserve.
The complexion of the race changed when the front-running Whodoyouthink came to grief down the back straight and Faltering Fullback could be spotted making eye-catching headway in the hands of Danny Mullins.
With just 9st 12lb on his back, the nine-year-old kicked clear off the home turn and safely negotiated the last couple of obstacles to beat his stable companion by five and a half lengths.
McNamara said: "Before the race I thought Questions Answered had a really good chance and I really fancied him. He ran a fabulous race to finish second.
"That was a bit out of the blue in fairness and Faltering Fullback came back to what he once promised.
"He won a novice chase here before and was a very good horse but just lost his way. The three miles and bottom weight just helped him and he came back to form at the right time.
"It's been a great race for me. We won it twice with Ponmeoath and he was back today.
"This is his sixth run in the Kerry National and his ninth year to run here which is a great achievement. He didn't run a bad race (in eighth)."
Aidan O'Brien's progressive stayer Chamonix completed his hat-trick with an all-the-way victory in the Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes.
Sixth on his Leopardstown debut in mid-July, the three-year-old son of Galileo got off the mark with a 12-length victory at Killarney before taking Listed honours at Galway.
Turned out nine days later, the even-money favourite was sent straight to the head of affairs by Joseph O'Brien and it was clear rounding the home turn that his rivals would struggle to bridge the gap.
Chamonix galloped on relentlessly in the bottomless ground to beat stable companion Demurely into second, just as he had done at Galway, with three and three-quarter lengths the winning margin.
The returning Minsk ran with promise to finish third.
The winning rider said: "Chamonix is a tough horse, he tries hard. He handled the ground but I think he'll be a bit better on nicer ground.
"He's a horse that's going places. I think he'll be a much better horse next year - he's quite big and raw still.
"He has worked with Camelot at home and at Leopardstown and you have to put in a smart enough lead horse for him. He's a very smart horse.
The young jockey is top of the Irish jockeys' table
"I'm lucky enough to be leading the championship at the moment but obviously there's a long way to go yet," he said.
"That said we've some nice two-year-olds and that to come. Hopefully we can get a few more winners on the board here before the end of the week."
Bookmakers are enjoying the battle between O'Brien and Pat Smullen.
Joseph Burke of Stan James said: "The ride Joseph gave Chamonix was symptomatic of what he's been doing week in, week out all season long.
"He keeps things simple and is riding with a steely determination and focus which is making it extremely difficult for Pat Smullen to haul him back.
"Their battle for the title will go all the way to the wire." -
Whatever Jacksays also turned in a dominant front-running display to take the Ballygarry House Hotel Novice Hurdle in the hands of Robbie Colgan.
Oliver McKiernan's seven-year-old wracked up four consecutive victories between April and June before coming up short in the ultra-competitive Galway Hurdle.
However, the 2-1 favourite had less on his plate and turned in a game performance to score by five and a half lengths from Too Scoops.
McKiernan said: "That was tougher ground out there than he had ever run on before so we weren't sure how well he'd handle it."
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