Belfast-owned Snow Falcon rises to top to claim feature race at Listowel
Belfast-owned Snow Falcon won the feature race of the week-long Listowel Festival, the Kerry National, yesterday.
The winner is owned by Mrs Patricia Hunt and trained by Noel Meade, who was successful in the Listowel feature for the first time.
The winner was partnered by Jonathan Moore with stable jockey Sean Flanagan currently side-lined.
Snow Falcon - while always prominent - was patiently ridden prior to leading three from home and keeping on in resolute fashion as the runner-up Saturnas delivered a strong late challenge after the final fence to be denied by a neck in the £200,000 feature.
The winner was well supported to 6/1 while Rogue Angel, winner of the race in 2015, was backed from big prices into 7/2 favourite and finished third.
Navan trainer Meade said: "Everything went great for him through the race and I'd say he was idling in front more than anything else.
"We planned to jump off on the inside and let him drift back as we knew there would be plenty of pace.
"He rode exactly as we planned except he went on a bit earlier than I expected but he said he didn't want to stay with Rogue Angel and help him along. He wanted to pass him and put it to bed.
"He trained very well since Galway (fourth in the Galway Plate) and I felt the ground helped him as he was a bit at sea on the faster ground at Galway.
"He's not an extravagant jumper over fences but he's usually reasonable. He jumped great for Johnny and horses do jump well for him as he has a beautiful pair of hands.
"It's tough on Sean that he's missing it but that's the way it goes. It's a great race to win. I've had plenty of big race winners here before but not the Kerry National.
"He could go for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury and the Munster National is a possibility as well. He also has options on the flat. The owners are on holiday in Portugal and have been great supporters."
Winning jockey Moore added: "That win is up there with the best. He jumped the last and was idling and I gave him a smack. He's a very talented horse and can step up to graded company. I was always comfortable despite him idling.
"I rode a lot of big winners two seasons ago but nothing last year so happy days - this is what you get up for in the mornings. It's unfortunate for Sean but he'll be the first man on the phone to congratulate me."
Snow Falcon has won a total of ten races and almost £400,000 in prize money for connections.