Codd in hot pursuit
Three wins for Jamie cuts lead to four
There was a bumper 10-race card in the weekend's only meeting at Dromahane in Cork on Sunday and Jamie Codd had three winners to one for Barry O'Neill to cut O'Neill's lead in the national riders championship to four (60 to 56) with two weekends left in the season.
There was a double for Rob James and the Killanne man seems set to lift the prestigious Southern Circuit riders' championship as he leads by five, and rookie trainer James Doyle from Monageer had his eighth win of the season with Sprintingforgold, which now tops the leading horse of the year table.
The battle between Codd and O'Neill was typified by the Winners of Two race where Codd got up on Fivecardstud (Milan-Ad Gloria) for his brother William, by just a head from O'Neill on Inaminna for Colin Bowe in a thrilling finish.
Earlier, Codd's first winner was much more comfortable on Roisin Hickey's Knockoura in Division 1 of the five-year-old maiden.
He also won the last race on Shower Cross for John Joe Walsh from Tinahely.
Barry O'Neill's winner was in Division 2 of the four-year-old maiden aboard Colin Bowe's debutant Reasonable Doubt (Robin Des Champs-Maggie Mathias). Despite jumping to the right at a few fences, O'Neill managed to steer him home a length ahead of Rob James on Donnchadh Doyle's Rio Quinto.
This was O'Neill's 60th win of the season, beating his previous best tally as he heads for his first riders' championship, following his second to Codd last year. It was the 30th for leading trainer Bowe, and the 249th success of his career. The Kiltealy man will surely reach the landmark 250 before season's end as he collects another handlers' title.
Rob James has been in great form since Christmas and had another winning double for Donnchadh Doyle and the Monbeg Syndicate, bringing his tally to 41, sixteen winners more than his previous seasonal best.
He won the opening four year old maiden on Aione (Coastal Path-La Horquela), from Jamie Codd on Denis Murphy's Bold Bandit, and they doubled up in the five year old maiden Div.2 with another debutant, Thebigcleanup (Milan-Newcastlebeauty), beating Derek O'Connor on the favourite, Ringmoylan.
James Doyle began training just last season and had two winners. This season he has a star on his hands in Sprintingforgold who won for the eighth time in the ladies open race under Liz Lalor; this one is now in pole position to take the Horse of the Season title. He was 20 lengths behind starting the final circuit but ended up winning by five.
Dino's Benefit went one better than last week's second when taking the five years old + mares' maiden for JJ Walsh and his dad, John, from Tinahely.
They race next weekend at Tralee on Saturday and at Inchydoney in Cork on Sunday. The season ends the following bank-holiday weekend with two-day fixtures at Kinsale and Ballingarry.
Jamie Codd reached another remarkable landmark the previous weekend during a four-timer at Bartlemy in Cork when his success on Denis Murphy's Hitman Fred was his 1,000th career winner in all aspects of racing, including point to point and track racing both in Ireland and Britain. Congratulations, Jamie, on another wonderful achievement.