Doyle and Tobin enjoy fruitful Borris afternoon
The Carlow Farmers' (F) meeting at Borris House, Carlow, on Sunday went off well, attracting 60 runners. It was a very special day for two people in particular, owner and trainer Hugh Doyle from Blackwater, and his jockey Michael Tobin, who recorded their very first career winners.
Their breakthrough came in the final race on the card, the six-year-old plus geldings' maiden for novice riders, and Mia's Milan (Milan-Manta Vision) had five lengths to spare at the line over Buzzkillbob, ridden by J.J. O'Neill for Seán Byrne.
Hugh has a small training operation down near the beach at Blackwater, and Mia's Milan has been a sturdy campaigner for him, with 15 runs including a couple of seconds last year.
Michael Tobin was having only his third-ever race ride and this first success means a lot to him too. He is from Tallow in Waterford but does a lot of work for Denis Murphy at his Ballyboy, The Ballagh, stables. Congratulations to them both.
It was a good day also for trainer Denis Moore from Grange, Kilmore Quay, who owned and trained Goodgirl Teresa (Stowaway-Decheekymonkey) to win the five-year-old plus mares' maiden under Gary Murphy from Ballycullane. Denis's horses have been running consistently well but this was a welcome first win of the season.
The Noel Dooly (Courtnacuddy)-trained Mrs Jay Dee tried to follow up her maiden win at Durrow two weeks ago but had to settle for second this time under Rob Brennan, behind the Kiely's Inchiquin High.
Liam Kenny (Craanford) came very close to getting the day off to a good start in the 15-runner five-year-old geldings' maiden but his Chase Me, under Waterford rider, Paul Power, had to give best by half a length to the Robert Tyner-trained Sideways.
There were three other meetings over a busy weekend and Wexford riders had a clean sweep of all six races at the South Westmeath (H) meeting at The Pigeons, Athlone. Harley Dunne (The Ballagh) got the ball rolling with a great ride to to get Minella Till Dawn (Shantou-Have At It) up by a short head in the opening four-year-old geldings' maiden.
Trained by Denis Murphy (The Ballagh) and owned by Bernadine Rochford and Elizabeth Nallen Bowen, the winner held off a strong challenge from favourite, Eviscerating, ridden by Jamie Codd for the powerful Gordon Elliott/Gigginstown House team. Third was Lost Frequency under Barry O'Neill for Colin Bowe.
There was a success for the Slevin family from Kiltrea, Enniscorthy, in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, with Garran City (City Honours-Native Orchid) winning by five lengths on his debut. He was ridden by son, J.J., who now mostly works in England, trained by dad Shay, and owned by mother, Elizabeth.
Harley Dunne had to settle for second here, on Swift Crusador, trained by Liam Kenny (Craanford) for the Orphan Girl Syndicate, with Jamie Codd third on Sumkindofking for Denis Ahern.
Codd's persistence paid off and he went on to record a double, on Tradman in the Confined Hunt race for local trainer, Thomas Cleary, and in the closing six-year-old plus geldings' maiden for Jim Dreaper and Alan Potts on Sizing Chile, which was coming back after a three-year absence.
However, Jamie missed out on one he would really liked to have won, having to accept a half-length second on Call Her Magic, owned by his wife, Robyn, and trained by her brother, Ross O'Sullivan.
The winner here, in the five-year-old plus mares' maiden, was Nicat's Benefit (Beneficial-Nicat's Daughter), ridden by Barry O'Neill from Ballindaggin, owned and trained by Tom Keating, Tipperary. And Barry completed his own winning double in the four-year-old plus race for winners on Valmy Baie for his Fermanagh patron, David Christie.
Donnchadh Doyle from Ballindaggin was joint champion trainer last year with his friend and neighbour Colin Bowe; he has had a slow enough start this year, but he showed signs that he might be clicking into gear with a winning double in the first two races at the West Waterford (F) meeting at Lismore Castle Farm.
It was also a double for rider, Rob James, and the Monbeg Syndicate.
In the four-year-old maiden, Monbeg Worldwide (Lucarno-Molly Duffy), was headed for the lead four out by Mr. Love, but he fought back to regain the lead and won by four lengths. Seamus Neville's (Bridgetown) Ask Nile was third.
The Ballindaggin team had a comfortable victory in the five- and six-year-old geldings' maiden with Monbeg Chit Chat (Kayf Tara-Gaye Sophie) who made all the running and jumped well to win by six lengths. Both winners are bound for the Cheltenham Festival sales. Katie Walsh was second on Kaiser Black for Pat Doyle, Thurles
At the East Down Foxhounds at Tyrella on Saturday the runners were scarce with just 37 contesting the six races, and the card was dominated by local northern connections. However, there was one notable Wexford winner, Newtown Craig (Craigsteel-Form a Circle) in the opening four-year-old maiden, ridden by Barry O'Neill for trainer Colin Bowe and the Milestone Racing Partnership.
Bowe was keeping up his great strike rate in these important value-enhancing races in recent weeks. Third here, less than six lengths back, was The Two Amigos, ridden by Shane Fitzgerald for Michael Goff from Ferns.
Derek O'Connor leads in the jockeys' title race on 32 winners, five ahead of Jamie Codd and Barry O'Neill, with Rob James fourth on 17. In the handlers' race, Colin Bowe leads on 14, from David Christie on eleven, John Paul Brennan from Camolin on eight and Donnchadh Doyle is now on seven.
There are five meetings scheduled for a hectic last weekend before the Cheltenham Festival, with the big local interest on the Killinick Harriers meeting at Lingstown on Sunday. The action begins at 1 p.m. with the four-year-old maiden, followed by the five-year-old mares' maiden, the five-year-old geldings' maiden, the open four-year-old plus (over the famous banks course), the winner of one and finally, at 3.30 p.m., the six-year-old plus maiden.
Other meetings are at Portavogie, Co. Down, on Saturday, and on Sunday at Horse and Jockey, Tipperary; Kilworth, Co. Cork, and Tuam, Co. Galway.