Desertmore House ran out a convincing winner of the Guinness Kerry National Handicap Chase at Listowel.
With rain causing the ground to deteriorate there were several withdrawals, which allowed Martin Brassil’s eight-year-old into the valuable prize as second reserve off bottom-weight.
Sporting the colours of Irish and Aintree Grand National hero Numbersixvalverde, connections no doubt have similar prizes on their minds for the 11-1 winner.
Desertmore House came in for late support in a race which was dominated by the major yards numerically, and it looked sure to go to either Gordon Elliott or Willie Mullins as 11-2 favourite Salvador Ziggy (Elliott) and top-weight Authorized Art (Mullins) loomed into contention alongside the pace-setting Foxy Jacks.
But Ricky Doyle, who rode 150-1 Irish National winner Freewheelin Dylan in 2021, smuggled his mount into contention and he fairly sprinted up the home straight, coming home three and three-quarter lengths in front of Salvador Ziggy, with Foxy Jacks battling back for third.
The winner was introduced into Paddy Power’s National betting at 50-1.
“It was a late plan after he won in Kilbeggan and we saw he had gone to 135. He’s a novice that jumps like a handicapper and we just wanted to get more experience into him, whatever the ground was like,” said Brassil.
“There are plenty of races coming up like this – the Munster National, the Troytown at Navan and the Paddy Power – so there are lots of options for a horse that jumps like that.
“He got in as a reserve. Gordon rang me this morning and said ‘you should put your horse in the box as I have one out and we will walk the track and if we’re not happy we’ll take a second one out’.
“It was a real sporting gesture. He’s finished second, but he’s won plenty of these races!
“We’ve had some lovely winners with these colours and Numbersixvalverde is the one that sticks out. This fellow might start us dreaming again. He’s eight and has had a good time to mature.
“They went a bit steady and I said to Ricky if you are still travelling jumping the third-last they are not after going fast enough. I said make sure you are in the van as they will quicken up from there, but they are going to have to stay as well.
“He said it rode a bit slower than they were expecting, but he handled it well.”