Doyle and Tobin strike again
It was a bit like the calm after the storm on the point-to-point scene at the weekend as everyone took a breath after the thrills and spills of Cheltenham where Jamie Codd and Derek O'Connor added to their Festival tallies, and the proposed five fixtures were cut back to just two, for various reasons.
Some of the big guns were out in force at the North Kilkenny Hunt meeting at Ballyragget, but the Wexford highlight was the second success in a fortnight for Mia's Milan (Milan-Manta Vision) for Martin Tobin and Hugh Doyle.
Owner and trainer, Hugh, only looks after a couple of horses at his Blackwater base each season but he has certainly got a good one in 'Mia', who gave him and Martin Tobin their first-ever winner in Borris two weeks ago.
Tobin, just 17 years old, does a lot of work with Denis Murphy at The Ballagh, and he produced a peach of a ride to get up in the closing stages to beat Chief Admiral by half a length in the Winner of One. Hugh may now go to the track for a beginners' chase with his double winner that he says he got for small money at the sales.
Harley Dunne from The Ballagh also had a comfortable winner for Aidan Fitzgerald from the foothills of Mount Leinster in Borris, getting home by twelve lengths on Desaray (Milan-Shuil Mo Ghra) in the older horses' maiden. Next stop is the sales ring for this one.
Dunne had earlier finished second in the opening five-year-old geldings' maiden on Ben The Boyo for Donnchadh Doyle and the D&N Syndicate, beaten less than a length by Patrick Mullins who was having his first points winner, Neon Wolf, trained by Margaret Mullins.
Jamie Codd was pipped in a driving finish to the older mares' maiden on Trevor Horgan's Lady Robyn, behind Indian Native, ridden by Richie Kiely for James Sheehan from Cork. Third here was Spirits Gloe, under Mark Scallan, for John Martin Walsh from Duncormick.
There was limited Wexford interest in the Duhallow Hunt meeting at Liscarroll in Cork, the best effort coming from Avant Le Lettre under Rob James for Colin Bowe in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, behind Terence O'Brien's Kilquane Jack. He was in contention until the last when a mistake ended his winning hopes
Derek O'Connor had one winner here, his first for several weeks, and on 33 is now three ahead of Barry O'Neill and four in front of Jamie Codd in the championship. Rob James is fourth on 20 winners.
Those four will represent Ireland in the international point-to-point challenge against the British on Wednesday afternoon as part of the Killeigh Hunt meeting at Inch in East Cork. The best of luck to them.
Next Sunday, the main Wexford interest will be on the Bree Hunt Meeting at Monksgrange, Rathnure, with the six-race card starting at 2 p.m. with the four-year-old mares' maiden, followed by the four-year-old geldings' maiden, the winner of two, maidens for five-year-old mares and geldings, and ending with the six-year-old plus geldings' maiden..
They also race at Boston, Co. Clare, and Portlaw, Co. Waterford, on Sunday, and there is a two-day meeting up north on Monday and Tuesday (March 28 and 29) at Loughanmore, Co. Antrim.