KERRY LEE scored a breakthrough Grade 1 success to cap a remarkable first season as a trainer as Kylemore Lough wore down Outlander at Fairyhouse.
“It’s fantastic” said Lee. “I never had a runner in a Grade 1 until today and Kylemore Lough battled hard to win with Barry [Geraghty] using all his expertise to pull it off.
“Jamie [Moore] also deserves a lot of credit as he’s done a massive amount of work with the horse and recommended Barry when he was unable to ride himself because of injury.
“If the ground is right and not too quick Kylemore Lough will come back to Ireland and run at Punchestown next month.”
Outlander was bidding to put a fall in the JLT Novives’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival only ten days ago behind him and was well-backed to do just that under Bryan Cooper. He travelled well but his jumping was ponderous at times, as Kylemore Lough tracked him throughout.
The pair jumped the last together and it was Kylemore Lough, Lee’s first runner in Ireland, who prevailed to land what was a fifth win in succession.
The win not only marked a milestone for Lee but also provided rider Barry Geraghty with a Grade 1 double on the day, following the earlier success of Jer’s Girl.
Travel troubles for Lee
Fortunately for Lee, Kylemore Lough’s passage throughout the race was significantly smoother than her own journey to Ireland, with high winds on the Irish Sea making her crossing a tricky one.
She is now set for a return trip, as she has the Punchestown Festival in mind for the talented seven-year-old.
Lee could yet make it an extra special weekend, with Russe Blanc set to line up in Monday’s Boylesports Irish Grand National.
‘Aiming for the stars’
The trainer was in no mood to talk down the future prospects of Kylemore Lough in the aftermath of the landmark victory and said: “Potentially, we could be looking at anything next year.
“We’ve always thought where is the ceiling and we don’t know. We’ll certainly be aiming for the stars and see what happens.
“I think he’s a class horse that isn’t ground dependent.”