Good start to point-to-point defences
Reigning champion jockey, Jamie Codd, made a good start to the defence of his title with a double at the first meeting of the new season, the Mid Antrim Harriers fixture at Toomebridge on Saturday, and there was also a winner for Harley Dunne.
Codd struck on the outsider of four in the second, Smiling Jessica, for Ray and Mary McGlinchey. He won the open race on Sizing Solution for the strong Jim Dreaper/Alan Potts combination, with Barry O'Neill second on Valmy Baie for David Christie.
Harley Dunne, The Ballagh, got his season off to a good start with a great ride in the five-year-old geldings' maiden on Bocasien des Bois (Smadoun-Quocasienne) for the Seán Thomas Doyle (Ballindaggin) yard, owned by Nigel Heffernan and the S & N Syndicate.
At the Westmeath Hunt meeting at Castletown-Geoghegan on Sunday, Barry O'Neill, who was runner-up in the riders' championship last season in his best-ever campaign, and champion trainer, Colin Bowe, got off the mark. Debutant De Dollar Man (Vinnie Roe-Dollar Bay) was a nice winner in the five- and six-year-old geldings' maiden for the Milestone Racing Partnership.
It was an all-Wexford finish with Harley Dunne second on Liam Kenny's Swift Crusador and Monbeg Crackerjack third for Seán Thomas Doyle under Rob James. It was good to see Rob back as he missed the closing weeks of last season with an injury.
Kieran Roche from Adamstown, son-in-law of Mosey McCabe, made a nice start with his third career victory with The Kings Baby (King's Theatre-Assidua) in the older mares' maiden for Michael Kenny, under J.J. Walsh, Tinahely. Barry O'Neill was second on Colin Bowe's Princess Mononoke.
The Shillelagh Hunt has the stage all to itself next weekend for their Sunday fixture at Fairwood, Tinahely, the action starting at 1 p.m.