Knockfiernia in action at Fairyhouse last year
©Healy Racing Photos
Knockfierna turned in a determined performance under Davy Russell to take top honours in the Listed OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Kempton this afternoon.
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.