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Diol Ker makes it a lucrative day for Meade and Flanagan

Diol Ker, left, pulls it out by half a length from Ronald PumpDiol Ker, left, pulls it out by half a length from Ronald Pump
© Photo Healy Racing

Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan doubled up at Naas when 7/2 joint favourite Diol Ker kept on best to fend off Ronald Pump at the of an extended three miles in the Grade A Leinster National.

Diol Ker responded to Flanagan and closed at the second last. He continued his progress as he took a narrow lead from Ronald Pump on the run to the last fence.

The race was between the pair at that stage and it was the reluctant to line up Ronald Pump who looked like he would make the best way home as he hit the front in jumping.

However, Flanagan got into the drive position and his mount got up close home to edge out Ronald Pump (9/1 from a morning price of 16s) by half a length. Darrens Hope (28/1 - 14/1) was best of the rest in third, a further 12 lengths back.

Flanagan said: "He’s a fine big horse but he takes a bit of riding. He’s a dour stayer and the slower the ground is the better for him.

“I knew we had gone a good gallop and, when we got a bit tight for room at the third last, I decided to take my time and give him a bit of a breather. He’s come home well because of it.

“Noel got the boat to Cheltenham last night and is over there with the horses. We’ll have eight or nine runners.”

This was Diol Ker's first victory over fences.

Meade and Flanagan also teamed up with Highland Charge in a Grade 3 novice hurdle on the card.

The Stewards interviewed L.A. McKenna, rider of Ronald Pump (GB), concerning his use of the whip in the latter stages of this race. Evidence was heard from the rider concerned. In his evidence, L.A. McKenna stated that his mount had come on the bridle in the straight and had looked the winner until he felt him coming back under him. Having viewed a recording of the race and considered the evidence the Stewards were of the opinion that L.A. McKenna was in breach of R10(3)(g) by using his whip with excessive frequency. Having taken his previous record into consideration, the Stewards suspended L.A. McKenna for one raceday.

Additional reporting by Alan Magee

About Michael Graham
Michael has worked in horse racing journalism for more than 15 years, having also written a weekly betting column on Gaelic football and hurling for a newspaper. He is involved in writing the My Racing Story features on this website. He spent a year in South Africa completing a Diploma in Business Administration and also studied Newspaper Journalism in Belfast. He enjoys playing 5-a-side football on a regular basis.