O'Neill stays ahead

Gap of eight between Wexford rivals

Weekly news by Pegasus

Ballindaggin jockey Barry O'Neill
Ballindaggin jockey Barry O'Neill

It was another dominant week for Wexford connections all over the country, and it was particularly good for Ballindaggin jockey, Barry O'Neill, whose four winners matched Jamie Codd and maintained a lead of eight in the riders' championship.

O'Neill's double at Thomastown on Sunday also clinched his first Eastern riders' championship, ending Codd's unprecedented eleven-year reign.

At Newry on Saturday, O'Neill had a double in the five-year-old maiden races. He won the geldings for Colin Bowe with Alone No More (Gold Well-Cherry in a Hurry), pipping Rob James by half a length, and he won the mares comfortably on Miss Blanche for Michael McNiff (Sligo).

The opening four-year-old maiden was won by Rob James on Donnchadh Doyle's Kings Monarch (Schiaparelli-Monarch's View), maintaining Doyle's impressive run. O'Neill was third on Bowe's Rath An Iuir. Jamie Codd had a rare blank day.

Wexford riders and connections dominated the Kilkenny Hunt meeting at Grennan, near Thomastown, being involved with all six winners, with riding doubles for O'Neill and Benny Walsh (Murrintown).

O'Neill won the four-year-old geldings' maiden on Djarkevi (Khalkevi-Onvavoir) for Donnchadh Doyle, with two other Doyle brothers second on Sonic, ridden by Gearóid and trained by Cormac.

He picked up the five-year-old geldings' maiden for Colin Bowe with Ceatharlach (Beneficial-Dicera), ahead of Keith Cogley (New Ross) on Mark Clifford's Hatchet Jack.

Benny Walsh is in a good run at the moment. He rode and trained the winner of the 14-runner older mares' maiden, Grageelagh (Craigsteel-Smiths Lady), in the colours of his partner, Jenny Roche. Third here was Native Way, ridden by Gary Murphy for Richard O'Keeffe and owner Paddy McDonald.Walsh completed his double with Old Supporter for Louis Hill in the open.

Aaron Sinnott from Enniscorthy got the first win of the season and second of his career on Aidan Fitzgerald's Shirley Gold Well, ahead of Banrion Scairp for Luke Murphy and Shane Byrne.

Luke Murphy, from Inch, got his fifth winner of the season in the last on Call Me for the Cullens in the older maiden for novice riders

At Rathcannon, Co. Limerick, Jamie Codd maintained his challenge for the riders' title with a double, taking the four-year-old geldings' maiden for Denis Murphy with Gowiththeflow (Westerner-Maryiver), ahead of Darlac for Jimmy O'Rourke and Donnchadh Doyle, and Sneaky Pint under J.J. Walsh for Cormac Doyle.

He won the open geldings' race on Ourmanmassini for Peter Flood, the horse's seventh win of the season.

In the concluding mares' winner of one, Tiernan Roche from Tomhaggard got his first win of the season, and second in his young career, on board Brian Jordan's (Rathangan) Northern Beau (Canford Cliffs-View), ahead of Jimmy O'Rourke on Marc Costello's (The Rock, Gorey) Tobar Liath.

There was one Wexford winner at Ballydenisk, Co. Cork - Rob James and Donnchadh Doyle combining to take the four-year-old maiden with Highland Hunter (Subtle Power-Loughine Sparkle).

Jamie Codd's celebrations at Punchestown on Saturday week last after winning the amateur jockeys' championship on the track certainly did not slow him up on what was a great weekend for the family, as he went on to have three point-to-point winners trained by his brother Willie in the following two days.

As reported last week, the brothers combined to win with Special Prep at Loughrea on the Sunday, and then they had a double on bank holiday Monday at Dawestown in Co. Cork, where Harley Dunne and Rob James were also on the mark.

The Codd double was initiated in the five-year-old mares' maiden with Miss Illusion (Oscar-Miss Cozzene), owned by their dad, Billy, who bought her as a foal at Goffs. They also took the older geldings' maiden when Circuit Court (Court Cave-Norwich Breeze) won nicely on his fourth outing. They almost made it a treble, Fivecardstud being pipped by a head in the Winners of Two

The opening four-year-old geldings' maiden gave James Doyle (Monageer) his ninth win of the season, with Harley Dunne doing the steering for local owner, Jason Higgins, on Get Out The Gate (Mahler-Chartani).

Division 2 also came to Wexford, with Don Des Fosses (Denham-Sara Des Fosses) giving Donnchadh Doyle another four-year-old success, under Rob James.

He held off the strong challenge of Colin Bowe's Napoleon Blue under Barry O'Neill, with Shane Fitzgerald third on Michael Goff's Clondaw Bunny.

Barry O'Neill maintained his lead at the head of the riders' championship with 55 winners and is just four behind his seasonal best of last year. He is followed by Jamie Codd (47), Derek O'Connor (40) and Rob James from Killanne (36).

There are just nine possible days racing left for the riders and O'Neill looks set to lift his first national championship, having been second to Codd last year.

Colin Bowe leads the handlers' race on 28, from Donnchadh Doyle (22) and Denis Murphy (21, his best ever seasonal tally).

They race at Necarne, Fermanagh, on Friday and Saturday; and at Bartlemy, Co. Cork, and Stradbally, Co. Laois, on Sunday.

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