O'Neill treble on good weekend
The first meeting north of the border since before Christmas, at Kirkistown, Co. Down, on Saturday, was a great day for Barry O'Neill as a winning treble consolidated the Ballindaggin man's position at the top of the national riders' championship. It was a good weekend with nine riding and six training wins for Wexford connections.
Two of the O'Neill hat-trick were for his neighbour and regular patron, Colin Bowe. Lacken Bridge (Scorpion-Rose of Salome) looked impressive when he followed up on his easy win at Tallow six days earlier in the Winners of One race by eight lengths for owner Patrick Farrell.
Earlier, O'Neill and Bowe combined to win the five-year-old geldings' maiden with The Real Snoopy (Presenting-Senora Snoopy); a couple of fancied runners came a cropper and O'Neill took advantage to drive his mount home by a neck in a great finish.
O'Neill completed his treble aboard eleven years old Crowded Room for Marshall Watson in the older maiden by a comfortable margin.
He has increased his lead over Derek O'Connor to 28-19, the Galway man having no winner over the weekend, with Jamie Codd in the middle on 23 after a single winner on Sunday.
Codd's win was at the Kildare Hunt meeting at Punchestown where he scored on Enniskillen for local trainer, Peter Maher, with Barry O'Neill second on Buzzkillbob. Codd went on to Leopardstown where he got second on his old friend, On The Fringe, in a top-class hunters' chase.
Feature of this meeting was a fine double for trainer James Doyle (Monageer) and the Monbeg Syndicate. Harley Dunne (The Ballagh) was up on Bitingthebullet (Goldwell-Tawny Owl) for an all-the-way win in the four-year-old maiden.
The double was completed in the open race for novice riders with Ray Cody from Kilkenny guiding home the recent impressive winner, Sprintingforgold (Goldwell-Annie be Quick). This one is an exciting prospect. Second was Art of Logistics for Donnchadh Doyle under his 17-year-old nephew Gearóid.
Eddie Keating (Gusserane) followed up last week's success as a trainer by riding his third winner of the season in the concluding older geldings' maiden on Knockrobin (Robin Des Pres-Tudor Style) for Daryl Deacon, Clonroche. According to my records this was a first winner between the flags for Deacon, who has had about 20 winners on the track, so very well done to him.
Jimmy O'Rourke (Ballycogley) made the long trip to Fermoy in Cork for the Avondhu Hunt meeting pay off with a fine riding double. He won the opening four-year-old maiden on Sunset Sundown (Flemensfirth-Sunset Queen), trained by Denis Murphy at The Ballagh.
O'Rourke completed his double in the Adjacent Hunts maiden on The Dubai Way for local trainer, Paul Cashman.
Next Sunday, the Bray Harriers race at Fairwood in Tinahely, the first flag falling at 1 p.m. They also race at Cragmore, Askeaton, with the Limerick Foxhounds, and at Kildorrery, Co. Cork, with the Duhallow Foxhounds.