Kerry native Oisin Murphy bagged a first winner in his home county after a thrilling climax to the Kelleher Feeds & Agri Suppliers Ballymullen, Tralee Handicap at Listowel.
Born and raised in nearby Killarney, the three-time British champion jockey had never previously ridden in County Kerry but did not take long to open his account.
Having been narrowly denied on his first ride aboard Zephron, Murphy went one better in the following race as he and Pat O’Donnell’s 100-30 favourite Dragon Of Malta got up in the final stride to win a pulsating three-way finish by a nose and the same from Mercurial and Brave Troop.
Murphy, whose previous competitive rides in Ireland have been at the Curragh, Leopardstown and Dundalk, said: “I have lots of family here today and they’ll be over the moon. The horse is also trained by an old family friend of ours so it is a brilliant day.
“He had won well at Galway and while he didn’t run so well at Roscommon, today he was perfect and I had a willing partner up the straight.
“The O’Donnell family are from County Limerick and not too far from here and I’ve known them for years so it is great to ride a winner for them.”
He added: “It’s great to be here. I spent lots of time as a child hanging around the weighing room, trying to get goggles off Ruby Walsh and Davy Russell and wanting to be a jockey.
“To ride a winner here is a big relief.”
There was a huge shock in the feature event on day three of the Harvest Festival as Jessica Harrington’s 80-1 shot Maud Gonne Spirit lunged late to secure Listed honours Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes, with Nathan Crosse the winning rider.
“She loves soft ground, Jessie and all the team have done a great job getting her ready for today as she hasn’t had a whole pile of runs this year. It’s very important for her to get a black-type win today,” Crosse said.
“We went a good gallop, her fitness was good and she is a good, honest filly. Everything worked out perfectly.”