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Blackmore breaks Listowel duck as De Bromhead wins Kerry National

Poker Party leads Ravenhill and Shantou Village (green, about to exit) over the lastPoker Party leads Ravenhill and Shantou Village (green, about to exit) over the last
© Photo Healy Racing

Trainer Henry De Bromhead emulated the 1996 Guinness Kerry National win of his father Harry by winning this year's renewal with Poker Party whose rider Rachael Blackmore was recording her first ever winner at the Co Kerry racecourse.

Poker Party was patiently ridden by Blackmore and while leader Internal Transfer set a brisk pace from halfway, that runner predictably couldn't maintain the gallop and was headed at the second last by Poker Party.

Three horses, winner Poker Party, Ravenhill and Shantou Village raced to the final fence with chances but Robbie Power became unbalanced as his reins opened on landing at the obstacle with Shantou Village and was unseated.

On the run-in Poker Party maintained his narrow lead over Ravenhill to the line as Blackmore passed the post a Listowel winner for the first time, with a head success.

It was also a big-race success for owner Brian Acheson, of Robcour Investments, whose Na Trachtalai Abu filled also third place for good measure in the E200,000 contest.

Winning trainer Henry de Bromhead later commented “it’s fantastic to win the race, and to emulate my dad who won it with Bishops Hall.

“After the Galway Plate (where Poker Party unseated Blackmore at the second fence) we said we’d aim towards today but it was more get him around and try and get him a bit of confidence in these big handicaps.

“I felt we threw him into the Plate a bit and he got the fright of his life. In fairness to Brian (Acheson, owner) he said to Rachael if you can finish fourth or fifth I’ll be absolutely delighted.

“She got him jumping and he started to enjoy himself. He really stuck his head down at the finish and ground it out.

“The Achesons are great supporters of the yard and it’s great to do it for them as well.”

Head runner-up Ravenhill's rider Denis O'Regan carried the correct weight of 10st3lbs but weighed back in 1lb over at 10st4lbs.

Quotes from Alan Magee

About Tom Weekes
A lifelong racing fan, Tom began writing point to point reports in 2002 and has reported for irishracing.com since 2003, when he joined Irish Racing Services - since taken over by the Press Association. Has ridden a point to point winner and won the 2018 Irish Field Naps Table.