McNamara eyes another Kerry National win

Fresh from his thrilling success in the €200,000 featured chase at Leopardstown, Real Steel is to be aimed at the 2023 Kerry National.
There were joyous scenes in the winners’ enclosure during the Christmas Festival at the County Dublin venue as popular father and son Eric (trainer) and Conor (jockey) McNamara of Beechmount Stables in Rathkeale celebrated a famous victory.
The pair were responsible for the shock 33/1 winner, owned by Tadhg Moynihan who bagged the €27,000 bargain on the trainer’s advice earlier in the year. McNamara and Moynihan met through a mutual friend, Seán Curran of Askeaton, at the Harvest Festival in Listowel.
“A huge thanks to Tadhg. I picked him out at the sales and told him I didn’t want to go home without him. I bought him but Tadhg paid for him – and the horse paid for himself several times over today,” Eric said. “Tadhg always said he’d love to win the Kerry National so I bought this fella to try and win it. He’ll be there next September but this will do nicely for now!”
Team McNamara have won the Kerry National on three previous occasions, with Ponmeoath (2007 and ’08) and Faltering Fullback, 2012.
Only two years ago, Real Steel finished a respectable sixth in the Gold Cup.
Of his latest triumph, Eric said: “It was brilliant the way it worked out. He was well handicapped, if we could rekindle him we reckoned we could go places. He spent two years doing nothing in England, whatever went wrong there. We changed his routine when he came to us in Rathkeale and we were always very kind to him. We trained him like he was a real good horse.
“Conor gave him a great ride and did everything right so it’s fantastic.”
McNamara’s landmark victory denied champion trainer Willie Mullins a clean sweep on the card.
The McNamaras were given a hero’s welcome when they arrived for day three of the successful Limerick Racing Festival at Greenmount Park, Patrickswell.
Unfortunately, Michael Hourigan was absent at Limerick. Feeling a little poorly, the sprightly septuagenarian was advised to rest at home for a few days, and thus missed the festival for the first time since he was a young lad growing up in Rathkeale in the 1950s. The legendary trainer, of course, is wished a quick return to full health.