Local trainers make mark
In a busy weekend, Jamie Codd led the way with four winning rides and is now second in the title race, while Mark Scallan from Cleariestown had his first success of the season.
Trainers Ashleigh Murphy (Duncormick) and Pierce Power (The Hook) won again while Gordon Doyle (New Ross) and Seamus Neville (Bridgetown) opened their seasonal accounts.
The Kildare Foxhounds raced at Punchestown on Sunday and Jamie Codd had a riding treble in the first three races, including a dead-heat and a decisive win for The Hook yard of Pierce Power in the five-year-old maiden with Burging Burgess (Mahler-Lisdoylelady), owned by Alexandria Gardner. This was Power's second win of the season.
Codd had opened the card with another clearcut win in the four-year-old maiden on Hardline Line for Tipp-based Pat Doyle and Gigginstown House.
Barry O'Neill was second in this on Timewaitsfornoone for Colin and Brigid Bowe.
The third race, for Confined Hunt winners, provided the most excitement, ending in a rare dead heat. Codd was on Enniskillen for Peter Maher from Kildare and the rider and Hasty Times, trained also in Kildare by Jamie's brother-in-law, Ross O'Sullivan, could not be divided.
Mark Scallan from Cleariestown was on the mark in the final six-year-old plus maiden to score on Finnegan's Hollow (Indian River-Whisper Dawn) for owner Henry Cleary and trainer Gordon Doyle, New Ross.
The winner finished strongly to break his maiden at the seventh attempt and provide Doyle with his first win of the season.
Avondhu Foxhounds raced at Knockanard, near Fermoy, on Sunday. In the opening five-year-old geldings' maiden, the Seamus Neville (Bridgetown)-trained Legal Lord (Kayf Tara-Ladylliat) pulled off a bit of a shock in his wife's colours.
Gary Mangan brought him through to lead before the last and he beat the well-backed favourite, Daragh's Present, by three lengths.
He will be heading to the track to contest a bumper next time. Jimmy O'Rourke was third on Denis Murphy's Lough Derg Jewel.
It was a rare blank day for champion rider, Derek O'Connor.
North Down Foxhounds raced at Kirkistown on Saturday. Conditions are still pretty dire up north and there was a total of just 27 runners in the six races.
Ashleigh and Michael Murphy from Duncormick made the long journey pay off when Gary Murphy of Ballycullane steered home their Redbridge Rudi (Fruits of Love-Le Ciel) to a bloodless victory in the Winner of One race; the third success of the season for this combination..
The Open race for four-year-olds plus produced a clearcut win for Barry O'Neill from Ballindaggin on the David Christie (Fermanagh)-trained Valmy Baie; this was a little compensation for the pairing that suffered such cruel luck a week earlier with the death of You Must Know Me at the finishing line in Leopardstown.
Jamie Codd had to wait until the final event to get his winner, on Sizingdowntherhine for the powerful Alan Potts/Jim Dreaper yard.
Barry O'Neill was second and Jamie Codd third in the four-year-old maiden behind Cesar Collonges ridden by Mark O'Hare.
In the five- and six-year-old mares' maiden, Michael and Caitríona Goff's (Ferns) Clondaw Nell had to be content with second again under Shane Fitzgerald, after a good battle with Stephen Crawford's Red Con One.
The Stonehall Harriers meeting scheduled for Askeaton in Limerick was called off.
After all that action, Jamie Codd is now second in the riders' table on 20 wins, just seven behind Derek O'Connor and two ahead of Barry O'Neill.
David Christie now leads the trainers' table on ten, one ahead of Colin Bowe who has been marooned on nine for some time, with John Paul Brennan on six.
There are five racing days scheduled for a busy weekend with most local interest on the Bray Hunt races at the Fairwood track in Tinahely on Sunday.
The Brosna Foxhounds have a two-day fixture (Saturday and Sunday) at Durrow, near Tullamore; the Co. Limerick Foxhounds race at Cragmore, Askeaton, and the Duhallow Foxhounds race at Kildorrery, Co. Cork.