Keating on double
The Shillelagh and District Hunt was blessed with a good day for their point-to-point meeting at Fairwood in Tinahely on Sunday, which had been postponed for a week because of heavy ground conditions. The well-attended fixture produced riding doubles for Eddie Keating from Gusserane and Jamie Codd of Mayglass.
Keating initiated his double in the Casey Enterprises Winner Of One (five-year-old plus) on Bobbythegangster (Craigsteel-Agusta Lucinda), trained by Don Cashman at Rathgarogue for his partner, Talitha Doran. After two seconds in a row, the winner deserved this and won in easy style.
Second was the Willie Codd (Mayglass)-trained Our Commander, ridden by his brother, Jamie, and third was Giveabobback, ridden by Noel Gault for Alison Murphy.
The Nash, Gusserane, rider completed the double in the next race, the J.F. Kenny, Central House, Shillelagh, seven-year-old plus mares' maiden, getting home six lengths clear on Touchy (Touch of Land-Jerpoint Rose) for P.J. O'Gorman and owner Mary Lett. He was not winning out of turn either as he had been placed three times.
Second here was Minmore Oscar, ridden by Barry O'Neill for Carlow-based William Murphy, and third was Clonmore Rose, ridden by Donal Skehan for Andrew Slattery.
Jamie Codd struck early in the first race, the Weatherbys Ireland five- and six-year-old mares' maiden, when he rode Grangeclare Rosa to a winning points debut for his brother-in-law, Ross O'Sullivan (Kildare).
The horse did not lack experience as he had been placed on the track seven times for Willie Mullins, and was impressive.
The second, Sparkling River, ran very well under Rob James from Killanne for John and Marie Brennan, Camolin, just going down by a length, with Lucy MC three lengths further back under Noel McParlan for the powerful Gordon Elliott yard.
Codd completed his double in the Slaney Foods Open five-year-old plus (mdns. excl.) on another horse that has campaigned previously on the track, Aupcharlie, for the strong Waterford pairing of trainer Henry De Bromhead and owner Alan Potts.
He turned the tables on Hard Hat who had beaten him on their previous clash in November; this time Barry O'Neill, Ballindaggin, was six lengths back on the David Christie-trained 'Hat', with another northern horse in third, Quiet Account, ridden by Noel McParlan for Colin McBratney.
Harley Dunne from The Ballagh was second in the Tattersalls Ireland Ascot and Cheltenham Sales five- and six-year-old geldings' maiden on Chase Me, owned by Gorey hotelier Pat Redmond and trained by Liam Kenny, Craanford.
He had to give best to Hedginator, from the powerful Alan Fleming/Barry Connell yard, and third was Singing Banjo, ridden by Barry Walsh of Ballyday, Gorey, for his father, John.
The meeting ended on a poignant note in the Woodenbridge Hotel, Avoca/AgriMaster Farm Insurance/Gain Foods seven-year-old plus geldings' maiden (for Novice riders).
This was won by Goldmineinthesky, ridden by Seán Cavanagh, which had been owned and trained by Cecil Ross, a point-to-point legend from Slanemore, Co. Westmeath, who sadly passed away in December.
His wife, Carol, has taken over the training duties and this was her first winner, with a horse named after Cecil's favourite song.
A distant second here was Ballyday Lad for the Walshs from Gorey, ridden by Barry John for his father, John, and third was Puff My Pistons, ridden by W.T. Shanahan for the Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary trainer, Willie Austin.
It was a good day's racing and great credit is due to all the organisers and their voluntary helpers for having the track in such good condition after the tough weather since Christmas.
There is another local fixture on Sunday next with the Wexford Hunt set to race at their excellent Moorfields, Ballinaboola, course. They will also race at Killossera at the Dungarvan Farmers' Hunt meeting.