Ups and downs for pilot Barry
Barry O'Neill from Monbeg, Ballindaggin, experienced the triumph and the tragedy of horse racing within a couple of seconds at the end of a high-class Hunters' Chase at the big Leopardstown meeting on Saturday.
The highly-regarded amateur and point-to-point pilot gave a riding masterclass on You Must Know Me, trained by David Christie in Fermanagh, for whom he has ridden a few points winners this season.
He stole a long lead on a high-class field that included On the Fringe (under Jamie Codd), winner of an historic hat-trick at the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown festivals last season, and also the veterans Salsify and Noble Prince (trained by Paul Nolan), both also former winners at the Cheltenham festival.
Many thought Barry had gone off too fast as he was allowed take a huge lead, but he judged the pace very well and had the quality field strung out as he entered the straight.
Jim Culloty's It Came To Pass and Salsify were the only two to get in a blow and were closing the gap at the finish, but Barry had kept enough in the tank and nursed You Must Know Me to a famous victory.
The joy was turned to disaster in an instant as the horse broke a leg just as he crossed the line and he had to be put down. The high-class ten-year-old had won his three previous starts and would have been bound for the Cheltenham Festival next month.
Barry and all the connections were distraught, but nothing could be done. It was a cruel example of the vicissitudes of racing.
Barry was back in the saddle at Tallow in Waterford on Sunday and had a second and two thirds.
It was a hectic weekend for Jamie Codd, taking part in four race meetings in about 30 hours. He had a winner in Tyrella, Co. Down, on Saturday before driving down to take part in the big Hunter Chase at Leopardstown on multiple champion, On The Fringe.
He had a hat-trick of winners and a couple of places at the Ward Union meet in Dublin on Sunday and then made it to Navan for the bumper, where he just failed to get up in a Gigginstown House 1-2.
Jamie, from Mayglass, is now living in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, and this central location was certainly a help last weekend.