History repeats itself for Ponmeoath and Flood
REPORT: KERRY NATIONAL, Wednesday
Paddy Flood with Ponmeoath after they won last year's Kerry NationalPICTURE: Caroline Norris
HISTORY repeated itself at Listowel on Wednesdayas Eric McNamara primed Ponmeoath perfectly to land the Guinness Kerry National for the second year running.
The eight-year-old had failed to win since his emphatic victory here last season but a prep run over hurdles had clearly returned him to a peak.
Always placed handily by Paddy Flood, the Jolly Up Syndicate's gelding attacked every fence and slowly but surely reeled in the runaway leaders, British raider Openide and the unlucky Oulart.
Off an official mark 8lb higher than he had ever won from, Ponmeoath decisively swallowed up the tiring trailblazers approaching the home bend and pulled three lengths clear with the minimum of fuss, landing odds of 9-1.
Winning trainer Eric 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 said the chase track is definitely riding better than the hurdle track, it's still deep but much easier to get through, and that was obviously a big helpto him.
Bluesquare gave the winner a quote of 50-1 for the Grand National in April but the trainer plans to keep his star at home: "He ran in the Munster National last year and will certainly get an entry in that again," he said.
"He definitely won't be going to Cheltenham,that was a mistake last year. He got a terrible cut and travelled terribly so we will look at the Paddy Power at Leopardstown at Christmas, but today was the plan."
14-1 shot Oulart stuck to his guns under Ian McCarthy for second, a long way clear of the Nina Carberry-ridden General Striker and Michael Hourigan's A New Story. Top-weight Mister Top Notch put in an admirable display for fifth.
The red-hot 7-1 favourite Green Mile appeared to be travelling easily enough when setting out on the second circuit but never turned a hair thereafter and trailed in someway adrift.