Great day for Model county crews in Dromahane
The Duhallow Foxhounds hosted Sunday's meeting at Dromahane in Cork, the heartland of Munster pointing country, and there were 121 runners in the marathon ten-race card.
There was a big Wexford influence, with winners from five different riders and five different trainers.
It was a special day for two unrelated Murphys: Blackwater handler, Bernadette, sister of the well known Ballyboy, the Ballagh handler, Denis, saddled her first ever winner, and Conor, the Ramsgrange rider, had his first win of the season, and just his second in his career. Trainers Seamus Neville from Bridgetown and Pat Doyle from Courtown saddled their second winners of the season.
After the first race Barry O'Neill had cut Jamie Codd's lead in the riders championship to just two, but Codd hit back with a double later on and he still leads that particular race by four going into the second last weekend of the season, 59 to 55.
Wexford connections made a clean sweep of the four four-year-old maidens on the card, emphasising once again the county's total dominance in this sphere this season.
Bernadette Murphy's first training success came in the four-year-old mares maiden. 'Jetstone' (Milan-Good Wishes) survived a mistake at the last to come home a length clear in the capable hands of Jimmy O'Rourke, Ballycogley. Harley Dunne was third on 'Dulwich Hill' for Sean Thomas Doyle.
Bernadette and her husband Peter run a small operation at Ballinagore, Blackwater and this win is due reward for quite a few years hard work between them. Smaller stables like theirs are the lifeblood of the sport and good luck to them with 'Jetstone' when they take her to the track for a bumper.
Conor Murphy's win came in Div. 2 of the older geldings maiden on 'Master King' (Desert King-Floreen), trained and owned by Courtown garage proprietor, Pat Doyle, who was having his second win of the season. Murphy took it up after the final fenced and won going away by three lengths.
The day began on a good note for Barry O'Neill and Colin Bowe as they added to their amazing string of four year maiden wins with 'Golden Flowerpower' (Kings Theatre-Golden Flower), owned by Maria Kavanagh. Jamie Codd was third but well back on Denis Murphy's 'Royale Champ'.
It was the turn of Seamus Neville to strike in the four-year-old geldings maiden with 'Ask Nile' (Ask - Spirit of the Nile) in the hands of Mark Scallan, staying on well for a three-length margin.
Jamie Codd responded to the O'Neill challenge with a double in successive races - for Denis Murphy (making it a family double with sister, Bernadette) and owner Pat Coffey on the four-year-old geldings maiden on 'Lough Derg Farmer' (Presenting-Maryiver), and with a chance ride for Michael Mangan from Kerry on 'Potters Approach' in the five-year-old geldings maiden.
Mangan's son, Gerry, was due to take the ride but suffered an injury the previous day.
The Iveagh Foxhounds staged the final meeting of the season on Northern circuit at Maralin, Co. Down, on Saturday.
Michael Goff from Clondaw in Ferns sent out a very nice debut winner in Div. 1 of the four-year-old maiden in 'Marley Firth' (Flemensfirth- Merrill Gaye), owned by James Nolan and ridden by stable jockey Shane Fitzgerald, from Cork. He is now heading for the sales ring.
Trainer Aidan Fitzgerald and jockey Richie Deegan from across the border in Borris foiled the Wexford battalions in Div. 2 with their 'Macs Gift' (Scorpion-Gift Wrapped). His nearest challenger was 'Reckless Behaviour', ridden by Barry O'Neill for Donnchadh Doyle; well back in third was Jamie Codd on Denis Murphy's 'Minellatillmorning', and fourth was Jimmy O'Rourke on Doyle's 'Not A Role Model'.
Barry O'Neill narrowed the gap on Jamie Codd in the riders championship to just three when he steered home warm favourite, 'Valmy Baie', for David Christie in the open race, with Codd taking third on Denis Murphy's 'Theroadtocroker'.
Codd did get a second in the five-year-old geldings' maiden on 'The Pipers Cottage' for Pat Coffey from Nenagh, and JJ Slevin also finished second in the winner of three, the last on the card, on Treo Eile, trained by his father Shea at Kiltra, Enniscorthy.
Congratulations to Barry O'Neill who went to Stratford in England on Friday evening for one ride and did a great job on 'Painted Clouds' to win an important hunters chase title for trainer Warren Greatrex. He was back in Co. Down on Sarturday for two wins and then on to Cork on Sunday where he picked up another one.
There is racing on Saturday, May 28, at Tralee racecourse and on Sunday at Inchydoney, Co. Cork, the second last weekend of the season.