James hits century
Point-to-point: Wonderful week for Killanne rider
It was a wonderful week for rider Rob James from Tomona, Killanne, as he had seven winners at three meetings, including a remarkable four-timer from four rides at Portlaw, Co. Waterford, on Sunday.
This brought up his 100th winner in a seven-year career, and his 27 seasonal tally is another personal best, with plenty of racing left.
He won the first two at Portlaw for Donnchadh Doyle and the Monbeg Syndicate: first up was Peterborough (Fuisse-Peony Girl) in the four-year-old geldings' maiden where he had just a neck to spare over Cheers Delboy, ridden by Shane Fitzgerald for Michael Goff.
It was easier in the five-year-old geldings' maiden on The Great Getaway (Getaway-Park Mist), with Tiernan Roche second on Rollerball Rocco for Brian Jordan and owner William Bates, Kilmore.
Rob's next two winners were for Cork trainer Robert Widger and John Kiely, Be a Beneficiary in the Winner of One and Baby Bee in the five-year-old plus mares' maiden.
Harley Dunne got on the board for local Waterford connections in an eventful five-year-old plus confined maiden on Laketour Leader. Just two finished as two fell, two unseated and one was brought down.
James later rode in the bumper at Mallow for Noel Meade, but Fly Rory Fly was down the field.
At Oldcastle, Co. Meath, there was just one Wexford winner, J.J. Walsh taking the older mares' maiden for Seán Thomas Doyle and Monbeg on Talkofgold, with Barry O'Neill second on Ger Corrigan's Miss Illusion. This card drew just 33 runners.
It was a frustrating day for O'Neill who had three seconds and a third but no winner, including second on Colin Bowe's Newtide in the four-year-old maiden. Jamie Codd also drew a blank.
At Quakerstown in Co. Clare, Sprintingforgold had his sixth win of the season for James W. Doyle, Monageer, and the Monbeg crew in the ladies' open race, under Liz Lawlor. The Monbeg Syndicate had six winners for the week, bringing their total to a remarkable 29 so far.
The week's action began on Wednesday at Tallow for the Killeagh Hunt and three divides meant there were nine races, with the Wexford contingent making a big impact, with doubles for Barry O'Neill, Rob James, Jamie Codd and trainer Colin Bowe, including one dead-heat.
O'Neill and Colin Bowe struck in four-year-old mares'maiden with an impressive run by Victoria Bay (Doyen-Torsha), owned by Rich and Nora Furlong, to come home by eight lengths.
The two four-year-old geldings' maidens were dominated by the Wexford yards. Donnchadh Doyle and Monbeg won the first with Chooseyourweapon (Flemensfirth-Definite Love), under Rob James. Goldencard was second for Codd and Denis Murphy, with Turtle Wards third for O'Neill and Bowe.
In the second, it was the turn of Codd and Murphy with Tossapenny (Presenting-Blueanna) for Paudie Coffey, with Rob James third on Leskinfere for Liam Kenny. This was a good performance.
O'Neill and Bowe completed a double with Maria Kavanagh's Out of Africa (King's Theatre-Nairobi) in the older mares' maiden, ahead of Jimmy O'Rourke on Ballina Lady for Wayne Kehoe.
Rob James and Jamie Codd both completed doubles in the older geldings' maiden as they dead heated in a dramatic finish. James was on Good Man Vinnie for Denis Leahy (Cork), and Codd was on Minella Whisper for John Nallen.
They raced at Loughanmore, Co. Antrim, on Saturday and Wexford was again well represented, with Jamie Codd scoring a double. He opened with another Denis Murphy four-year-old winner in the mares' maiden, aboard Deputy Jones (Milan-Hudson Hope), ahead of Isle of Destiny for Donnchadh Doyle and Rob James, and Go Millie Go for Barry O'Neill and Colin Bowe.
The four-year-old geldings' maiden was divided, and Colin Bowe was thwarted in Division 1 by northern horse, Battleoverdoyen, filling second with Court Liability under Rob James, and third with Big Difference under Barry O'Neill.
James and Doyle combined for an all-the-way win in Division 2 with Plouis (Milan-Garlucy), seeing off Kelp Forest for the Codds, Jamie and Willie, with Rath An Uir third for O'Neill and Bowe.
Barry O'Neill had his seventh win in the past two years on his old friend, Maple Mons, for David Christie in the mares' open race, and Jamie Codd completed his double in the two-runner geldings' open with his third win of the season on Jim Dreaper's Complete Sizing.
They raced at Loughanmore again and at Stradbally, Co. Laois, on Monday; there is a two-day meeting at Largy, Co. Antrim, on Friday and Saturday, and they race on Sunday at Fairyhouse, Dromahane near Mallow, and Askeaton in Limerick.
Reverting back briefly to Denis Murphy's marvellous feats on Sunday week last, I shortchanged him by crediting him with just four winners from three meetings; he actually had five. Sorry about that, it was entirely my fault. For the record, the one I missed was in the Porter's Bar Killenagh older geldings' maiden at the Island Hunt meeting at Courtown where he completed a hat-trick with Pop The Champagne (Scorpion-Manesbill), ridden by Rob James.