Joy for Meade as Falcon clings on for Listowel glory
Snow Falcon clung on grimly to claim top honours in a thrilling renewal of the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel.
A field of 18 runners went to post for the e200,000 feature and for a long way it looked like the heavily backed Rogue Angel would provide Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud with a third successive victory.
Originally a reserve before eventually making the cut, the 7-2 favourite travelled with exuberance and fenced fluently under Rachael Blackmore and had opened up a big advantage over the rest of the field at the halfway stage.
However, his lead was steadily reduced and it was clear from the home turn he would have to settle for minor honours.
Noel Meade's Snow Falcon, last seen finishing fourth in the Galway Plate, was a 6-1 shot under Jonathan Moore and was travelling strongly at the top of the straight.
The Willie Mullins-trained Saturnas gradually closed the gap and was rattling home after the final fence, but Snow Falcon had just enough in reserve to score by a neck.
Rogue Angel was third, with Dell' Arca faring best of the British challengers in fourth.
Meade said: "Everything went great for him through the race and I'd say he was idling in front more than anything else.
"We planned to jump off on the inside and let him drift back as we knew there would be plenty of pace. He rode exactly as we planned, except he went on a bit earlier than I expected, but he said he didn't want to stay with Rogue Angel and help him along. He wanted to pass him and put it to bed.
"He trained very well since Galway and I felt the ground helped him as he was a bit at sea on the faster ground at Galway. He's not an extravagant jumper over fences, but he's usually reasonable.
"It's a great race to win. I've had plenty of big-race winners here before, but not the Kerry National.
"He could go for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury (on December 1) and the Munster National is a possibility as well."
Elsewhere, Lah Ti Dar has been confirmed as an intended runner in Saturday's William Hill St Leger at Doncaster.
The John Gosden-trained filly had been a leading fancy for the Oaks back in June after winning a Newbury maiden on her debut in April, before following up in the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket in May.
However, a setback kept her on the sidelines until York last month, when she romped home by 10 lengths in the Listed Galtres Stakes over 12 furlongs.
Lah Ti Dar will be stepping up to a mile and three-quarters on Town Moor as she tackles the colts for the first time, but her handler confirmed she will head to Doncaster rather than waiting for the Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
Gosden said: "She goes to the St Leger."