Knockfierna takes Listed honours at Kempton
Knockfiernia in action at Fairyhouse last year
(Healy Racing Photos)
Despite signing off last season with back-to-back wins in Graded company, the Charles Byrnes-trained 11/4 chance was on something of a recovery mission having ran out on her seasonal return at Limerick before being well beaten at Clonmel when hampered five out.
Switched back to the smaller obstacles today, the quirky mare stayed on powerfully in the straight to beat Miss Milborne by two and a half lengths.
Byrnes said: "The conditions of the race appealed because she's a fair hurdler back in Ireland, but she wasn't penalised for this.
"Apart from Quevega, she'd be as good as any other mare and if there was a chance she could get in the first half dozen at Cheltenham (in the mares' hurdle), you'd have to consider it.
"The clerk of the course says there is a race back here on December 27th and we'll have a look at that.
"I wouldn't rule out another run over fences, maybe in the spring."
Around a dozen members of the Knockfierna Syndicate had made the journey across.
Their name is taken from a large hill a few miles from Byrnes' stable in Ballingarry, Co Limerick.
A maximum of just six horses will go to post in Saturday's Stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle, with officials at the track keeping their fingers crossed that the weather doesn't deny the chance to see some of the season's most exciting two-mile hurdlers line up.