Heartbreak for Howick as Busselton in O’Brien’s Kerry National drama win | horse racing news

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

“title=”Busselton and JJ Slevin on their way to victory in the Kerry National” class=”js-imageLoader” data-at-xn=”data-br-n=”data-br-m=” data-br-w=” data-br-xw=”onclick=”Return false;”>

Busselton and JJ Slevin on their way to victory in the Kerry National

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

Written by Mark Boylan

Wednesday: Kerry National, Listowel

Busselton won one of the most breathtaking and accident-ridden races in Kerry National history with a superb performance up front, although the race will live long in the memory due to champion Hewick’s thrilling final fence departure.

After three miles of action and high-octane spills, it looked like the Shark Hanlon Galway Plate winner would have the upper hand in approaching the 16th and final hurdle as Busselton, who actually led from the fall, was impressively trapped under pressure.

Lady Luck smiled to Howick as he avoided disaster despite having a loose horse carrying him across the track at Balbert, but there was no such good fortune this time that he parted ways with Jordan Gainford after clipping the top of the latter.

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

“title =” Hewick Parts with Jordan Gainford at the last fence at Kerry National ” class =” js-imageLoader ” data-at-xn =” data-br-n = “data-br-m =” data-br -w = “data-br-xw =” onclick = “return false”>

Hewick Parts with Jordan Gainford at the last fence at Kerry National

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

Owner TJ McDonald’s, who was out to challenge a high mark of 163, traded as low as 1.41 in a run on Betfair before his exit, after being knocked out 9-1.

Hanlon was understandably devastated, but in stark contrast was jockey JJ Slevin’s win in wild joy, as he earned a superb compensation for a nose job defeat in the 2020 race aboard Moyhenna.

Busselton’s win also puts a back-to-back win in the €200,000 advantage for Joseph O’Brien, who continues to collect some top prizes in the jump races despite the sluggish series.

“It’s great to win this after being defeated just two years ago,” said the emotional Slevin. “Joseph struggles with numbers in terms of the jump streak so it’s hard for me to get big chances. Thanks to him and everyone for giving me the chance. This is for my grandfather Jimmy, who’s not feeling well at the moment.”

Slevin added: “I think Howick started to put up a strong challenge. Jordan and I are neighbors at home, so the finish could have been good, but I’m glad I got out on the right side of it.”

“With 10lbs and 5lbs on his back, we were totally hopeful. He hadn’t won a big win before but was threatening. There was always a day for him, thank God it was today.”

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

“title=”JJ Slevin with the Kerry National Cup after Busselton’s sensational victory” class=”js-imageLoader”data-at-xn=”data-br-n=”data-br-m=” data-br-w=” data-br-xw=”onclick=”Return false;”>

JJ Slevin with the Kerry National Cup after Busselton’s dramatic win

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

Hewick had been trying to become only the second horse since Dorans Pride in 1997 to win the Listowel award while conceding weight to all competitors, and Hanlon was proud of the seven-year-old’s effort.

“They said he couldn’t win the heavyweight but I think he would,” he said. “He went to the front and we know he stayed, having won the 365 bet365 Gold Cup over three miles and five furlongs. It’s unlucky but Jordan and the horse are fine – that’s the most important.”

The ambitious $250,000 American Grand National in Far Hills on October 15 will be on the agenda for a €850 deal purchase.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun with him,” Hanlon said. “He’s still only seven years old. He could be anything. If he’s okay, the plan is an American Grand National.”

Busselton made his share of history when he became the first five-year-old since the Southlander in 1969 to win the race, with O’Brien’s assistant coach Brendan Powell describing him as “hard as nails”.

Staying out of trouble at the front end was undoubtedly an aid to the winner owned by Michael Burke, who returned 13-2.

Runaway Midlands National winner Georgian Hurricane made a mistake at the first fence and was quickly pulled off after breaking the 7-pound passenger skin of Michael O’Sullivan, while Paul Townen walked away cautiously after defeating Bara favorites 5-1, coached by Willie Mullins. , at nine.

The race was largely memorable for the champion coach as there was a fatal injury to him at Connacht National and Galway Rock Road Festival winner, who mistook the run to fourth as Busselton’s teammate Fire Attack also fell.

Mullins’ 28-1 “Read a Prayer” shot put in an overwhelming effort to finish second, while Darasso capped O’Brien’s impressive third-place finish.

Subscribe to receive on the nose, our essential daily newsletter, from Racing Post. Your unmissable morning feed, straight to your email inbox every morning.