Andrew Lynch celebrates winning the Kerry National on White Star LinePICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Third reserve Line runs away with Kerry National
Report: Listowel, Wednesday
Guinness Kerry National Handicap Chase (Grade A) 3m, 4yo+
THE third reserve White Star Line snuck into the Kerry National field, but that was the closest he came to defeat - running out an easy five-length winner of the €160,000 contest.
Andrew Lynch, who switched to take the mount on White Star Line when his original ride - the Jim Dreaper-trained Go All The Way - was a non-runner, made eyecatching headway around the home turn and powered clear in the home straight to win at 16-1.
It was an impressive victory from the nine-year-old, who has proved something of a nearly horse - winning just one of his previous 20 starts but finishing second or third on 11 occasions, including when chasing home Hunt Ball at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.
Dessie Hughes's daughter Sandra, representing her father who is at home recovering from a recent serious operation, said:
"White Star Line jumped brilliantly. The ground wasn't as testing as we expected and that was a big help.
"He's been knocking on the door for a long time and deserved to win a big one. He's been placed at the Cheltenham Festival a couple of times and I'd imagine he'll be going back there.
"Dad is recovering well and has been out on the gallops each morning since he came home from hospital. I've just spoken to him and he's delighted."
Lynch added : "I couldn't believe how well he was going down the back straight. I decided not to disappoint him and let him go. He jumped for fun."
Tony McCoy got 10-1 shot Carlingford Lough up for second, with Muirhead third at 12-1 and Questions Answered fourth at 10-1. Carlingford Lough has been given a quote of 25-1 by Boylesports for the Crabbie's Grand National.