JOE Keeling clearly knew who was going to win the Irish Cesarewitch last Sunday, as he posed beforehand with jockey Wayne Lordan.

The former Horse Racing Ireland chairman is credited for drumming up the support for the €600,000 race which was funded by ‘Friends of the Curragh’ and it certainly delivered an exciting finish and a very smart winner who may well be a Group 1 horse.

The race also had a charitable aspect. Each of the 30 runners were assigned to local pubs and the first five finishers earned prize money for nominated charities or organisations.

The winner, Waterville, was drawn by the Oak Bar in the Westgrove Hotel in Clane who earned €2,500 for their charity, Clane Evergreens. The cheque was presented to the bar’s owners the Fadden family and their manager Bonnie Reidy by the winning trainer Aidan O’Brien and Joe Keeling, representing the sponsors.

Runner-up Echoes In Rain was running for the Silken Thomas Bar in Kildare and their charity, Kildare Town Day Care Centre, gets €1,000. The third, fourth and fifth-placed horses drew cheers from the Garden Bar in Barberstown Castle, Baileys Bar in Clannard Court Hotel in Athy and J.J. Mahons Bar in Kildare, with €500 going to Cancer Trials Ireland, St Brigid’s Hospice in the Curragh and Kildare Town Day Care Centre respectively.

A sweepstake for a big race at the Curragh? Who’d have thought that would ever work.