Big day for Benny
First win as trainer for riding veteran
The Shillelagh Hunt meeting at Fairwood in Tinahely on Sunday was the main focus with Wexford connections taking four of the six races, while Robbie James travelled to Aghabullogue in Cork and recorded a fine double.
Benny (B.O.) Walsh from Murrintown is one of the veteran riders on the point-to-point scene and has had over one hundred winners since he rode his first about 16 years ago, but he opened a new chapter in his career at Tinahely on Sunday when he steered home his first winner as a trainer.
It was a near thing in the most exciting finish of the day as seven years old Boola River (Craigsteel-Hy Kate) held on by a head to win the Germaines Hotel & Gain Feeds seven-year-old plus mares' maiden.
Benny drove her out to beat Gavin Cromwell's See What. Third was Steel Dawn for Daryl and William Deacon, Clonroche.
The Walsh family from Ballyday, Gorey, struck in the opening five- and six-year-old mares' maiden with Loggan Lady (Beneficial-Loggan Lass), Barry John riding the horse out to score by a length.
Jamie Codd won the second (the five- and six-year-old geldings' maiden), for Denis Murphy, The Ballagh, and Alan Harte on Don't Act Up (Act One-Lucky Arrow), which had been second over the course in October.
He had just half a length to spare over The Dubai Way, ridden by Jimmy O'Rourke (Ballycogley) for Paul and Catherine Cashman.
Codd got second in the John F. Kenny Shillelagh Winner of One on Definitely Fureys for J.P. Dempsey, behind Johnny King on Tom Shaw's Chapter Two.
Codd then headed off to Naas to ride the favourite in the bumper, where had had to be happy with third place.
There were some big names in the 13-runner Slaney Foods Open, with Willie and Patrick Mullins supplying the winner, On His Own, under Sonny Carey; Katie Walsh rode Usuel Smurfer into second for Alan Fleming and Barry Connell, with third filled by Barry O'Neill on John Paul Brennan's (Camolin) Need to Know.
Conor Murphy from Ramsgrange ended the card on a high note in the seven-year-old plus geldings' maiden when he got his first win of the season on So Influential (Luso-How Influential), owned by his father, Laurence. This was a good feat by trainer Mark Clifford as the horse had been out for nearly 600 days.
Killeagh Harriers in Cork have the weekend to themselves next Sunday.