Mason and Guest have new National target

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The Independent Online

The lure of an IR£60,250 first prize has drawn a three-strong British assault on the Kerry National at Listowel today. Paul Webber's grey Flying Instructor carries top weight of 12st in the three-mile handicap chase with Russ Garritty in the saddle. The Grand National-winning team of owner/trainer Norman Mason and his assistant/jockey Richard Guest is represented by Red Ark, who has 11st 1lb.

Completing the British team is Timmy Murphy's mount Galapiat Du Mesnil (10st 7lb), who will be Paul Nicholls's first runner at the Co Kerry course. Norman Williamson partners River Cora for Willie Mullins.

The home contingent is spearheaded by Monty's Pass, trained by Jimmy Mangan, and Michael O'Brien's Dovaly, winner of last year's Galway Plate. Mason and Guest also run Jokers Charm in the Seamus Mulvaney Handicap Chase.

Pointing in the clear

The point-to-point season is to start on schedule on 6 January, having been virtually wiped out by foot-and-mouth disease last season.

Mark Davies, chairman of the Jockey Club's Point-to-Point Liaison Committee, said: "We have taken advice from the Jockey Club chief veterinary adviser, Dr Peter Webbon, and received landowners' permission to hold meetings at virtually all courses. While we can't predict or rule out localised foot-and-mouth flare-ups, we are confident that as things stand the 2002 season will get under way without too much disruption. All the associations are pulling together to make this happen."