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  • 16:35 Guinness Kerry National Handicap Chase 3m

  • (grade A) €160,000 added 4yo+ 18 ran
  • Winner €96,400 2nd €32,000 3rd €16,000 4th €6,400
  • Going: Good, Yielding in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 5m 45.10s
  • Off time: 16:34:40

Alfa Beats His Rivals

By Keith Hamer, Press Association Sport.   Last Updated: 15/09/10 6:08pm

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Byrnes - trains Alfa Beat.

Byrnes - trains Alfa Beat.

Alfa Beat continued his rise through the ranks by completing a five-timer in the Guinness Kerry National Handicap Chase at Listowel.

The grey, who started his winning sequence with a rating of 92 at Roscommon in June, took this valuable prize off a 45lb higher mark.

Barry Geraghty kept the Charles Byrnes-trained six-year-old wide in search of better ground and made his move after Archie Boy's fall at the fourth-last left Galway Plate hero Finger Onthe Pulse in the lead.

Alfa Beat (6-1) began to get on top on the run to final fence and after safely making his way to the other side, he stretched clear on the run-in to score by three and a half lengths.

The favourite Dancing Tornado made several mistakes but plugged on be second under Tony McCoy, with Finger Onthe Pulse third and Swift Counsel fourth.

"I'm over the moon. We were unlucky in this race seven years ago when Cloudy Bays had the race won and unseated at the second last. We were very disappointed then but this has made up for it," said Byrnes.

"We thought the ground might have gone on us this morning. Barry made a brave decision as he said the horse was not travelling well on the ground but when he pulled him out wide, he grabbed hold of the bit again.

"Good ground is a must for this horse. He's still only a novice and I doubt if there will be a higher-rated novice this side of Christmas.

"My long term plan for him has always been the four-mile race at Cheltenham.

"He's a horse that's very well handicapped over hurdles compared to his chase mark and we may look at something there as well."

Geraghty added: "He had to have a great chance but he had a big penalty for winning the last day in Galway.

"Early in the race he was struggling on the ground, but the further he went the more he warmed up to it.

"First time round he was going nowhere on the ground, so I just thought I'd move him about and look for better ground. As soon as he got on it, he travelled better and it worked.

"He'll be a good ride for an amateur in the four-miler at Cheltenham. He'll gallop and gallop all day. He's got loads of options, he's only six and he could be very good."

Looking even further ahead, Alfa Beat was given a quote of 33-1 for the John Smith's Grand National with Ladbrokes.

The Real Article lived up to his tall reputation when making a successful jumps debut in the Intervet/Schering-Plough Maiden Hurdle.

Unbeaten in three bumpers, Edward O'Grady's five-year-old looked a natural as he led four out under Andrew McNamara and looked good value for his half-length call over the fast-finishing Riverstown.

"I was impressed with the way he jumped. I'll probably give him one more run at Tipperary or Limerick then put him away," said O'Grady of the 2-1 favourite.

"We'll bring him back in the spring with the aim of running him at Aintree more than Cheltenham. I have to discuss it with the owners but I think the flat track might suit him better."

One Cool Tornado (9-2) responded to Ruby Walsh's urgings to deny Casey Top by a length and a quarter in the Ballygarry House Hotel Novice Hurdle after the pair enjoyed a battle royal in the closing stages.

"We did fancy him here today but my only concern was that the Flat track might catch him out," said trainer Paul Gilligan.

"He's an improving horse and is tough. I hope he keeps climbing the ladder and the plan is to run in the two-mile-five-furlong race at Cheltenham in November - the race that Berties Dream ran in before.

"The long term plan is to go back to Cheltenham in March for either the Neptune Hurdle or the Albert Bartlett."

Pick of the Flat action on day four of the Listowel Festival was Clearwater Bay's hard-fought win in the Ladbrokes 1800 777 888 Conditions Race.

Johnny Murtagh kept Aidan O'Brien's 7-4 shot up to his work to stave off Icon Dream by half a length.

"This horse is still immature. It's his third run and you would probably expect him to have learnt more by now," said Murtagh.

"Perhaps a big, galloping track would suit him better. He's a little bit vulnerable on these tight tracks.

"We had a great battle with the runner-up down the straight but my fellow was always holding the other horse."

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