Wexford riders rack up wins all over the country
The point-to-point season is in the midst of a hectic conclusion and there were five meetings last week spread between Cork, Antrim, Kilkenny and Limerick, with large entries forcing a number of divides. The Wexford connections maintained an impressive strike rate with nine trainers and seven riders saddling nearly 30 winners between them all.
The Muskerry Foxhounds staged an eight-race card with two divides at Dawstown, Co. Cork, on May Bank Holiday Monday and trainer Colin Bowe continued his dominance of the four-year-old maiden scene by taking both sections of the geldings' race, with Barry O'Neill doing the steering and relegating Jamie Codd to second in both.
Division 1 produced a thrilling finish. O'Neill came with a late surge on Benechenko (Beneficial-Beann Ard), in the colours of Deirdre Bowe, to get up by a neck over Codd on Denis Murphy's Minella Rebellion, owned by Bernadine Rochford.
O'Neill came from behind in Div.ision 2 also on One Forty Seven (Beneficial-Stillbubbly) for Brendan Murphy to win by two and a half lengths from Codd on Colin Motherway's Go Another One, a likely future winner.
There was another Wexford finish to the five-year-old mares' maiden - Seán Thomas Doyle's Marble Moll (Scorpion-Ann Hathaway) under P.D. Collins won by two lengths from Willie Codd's Doesntbotherme, ridden by brother Jamie for Billy Devereux.
After three seconds, Codd finally got his winner in Division 2 of the five-year-old geldings' maiden and it was for his brother, Willie, and the Rinn Dubhain Syndicate on board The Wise One (Tikkanen-Mary Mac Swiney).
There were two meetings on Saturday at widely separated venues in counties Antrim and Limerick, and Wexford trainers and riders won all three four-year-old maiden races on offer, with Donnchadh Doyle (Ballindaggin) winning one at each venue and Denis Murphy taking the other.
The Co. Limerick Foxhounds meeting at Athlacca was extended to nine races with three divisions.
Doyle fought out Division 1 of the four-year-old maiden, with his neighbour, Colin Bowe. Harley Dunne scored for him on the Monbeg Syndicate's well-bred Secret Investor (Kayf Tara-Silver Charmer), from Bowe's Shanelough, ridden by Barry O'Neill. The well-fancied Espoir de Teillee was leading when falling at the last, but the fences are there to be jumped.
Division 2 went to Denis Murphy of The Ballagh and owner P.G. Coffey, with Jamie Codd riding a strong finish on Lough Derg Spirit (Westerner-Sno-Cat Lady) to hold Minella Warrior under Barry O'Neill for Colin Bowe, and Super Follo under Harley Dunne for Donnchadh Doyle.
O'Neill and Bowe were also second in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, their Rare Conor being pipped by a head by What Else and Roger Quinlan, owned by daughter-in-law of J.P. McManus, Ann Marie. Dunne and Donnchadh Doyle took second in Division 2 with Moving in Style, beaten by Eoin Griffin's Willie Boy.
Barry O'Neill finally hit the bullseye after his three seconds in the open four-year-old plus geldings' race over the banks course. In another all-Wexford finish, he won on John Paul and Marie Brennan's Need to Know (Definite Article-Desperado Queen), from Treo Eile for the Slevins from Kiltrea, Enniscorthy, and Theroadtocroker, a Lingstown banks regular, ridden by Jamie Codd for Denis Murphy.
Harley Dunne completed his double on Avondhu Pearl in the five- and six-year-old mares' maiden for Cork trainer, David Fenton, and Jamie Codd also made it a double in Division 1 of the older maiden on Lighthouse Warrior for Cork's Jonathan Sweeney, with Dunne second on Noal Cabri for Louth's Peter Maher.
The marathon day finished with another Wexford win in Division 2 of the older maiden race, J.J. Slevin staying on well on Johnnyonepunch (Mountain High-Brightlight Leader) for his parents, owner Elizabeth and trainer Shea.
At the Mid-Antrim Harriers meeting at Broughshane on Saturday, the Doyle brothers, Donnchadh and Seán Thomas, fought out the four-year-old maiden with two Monbeg Syndicate horses.
Victory went to Donnchadh's Calino D'Airy (Azillero-Monita D'Airy) under a good ride from Jimmy O'Rourke from Ballycogley, just half a length ahead of Seán's Instant Replay, ridden by Declan Lavery.
Donnchadh was second in the five- and six-year-old geldings' maiden with Stingthebookies not quite living up to his name under Shane O'Rourke, Horetown, behind Stephen Crawford's classy Ballylumford.
Seán Thomas Doyle and the Monbeg Syndicate ventured into the heart of Munster point-to-point country on Sunday for the United Hunt Foxhounds meeting at Watergrasshill, and came away with yet another Wexford four-year-old maiden success with Searching for Gold (Goldwell-True Brittania), under local rider, Pat Collins. This was the sole Wexford win at the venue.
Jamie Codd and top track trainer Gordon Elliott combined to end the impressive Wexford run of four-year-old maiden wins at the Kilkenny Foxhounds meeting at Grennan when their Midnight Escape got up by short head in a thrilling finish to foil Jimmy O'Rourke on Donnchadh Doyle's Summer Getaway. Barry O'Neill was well back in third on Colin Bowe's Back to the Thatch and Luke Murphy (from Inch, Gorey) was fourth on Seán Thomas Doyle's Seemorelights.
James W. Doyle from Monageer had his second training win of his first season in Division 1 of the five-year-old geldings' maiden, with Shane O'Rourke (Horetown) guiding home A Game of Chance (Stowaway-Instant Queen). Barry O'Neill was third on Colin Bowe's Flaggan.
Division 2 produced a first win of the season, and a second career win, for handler Jenny Roche (Murrintown) with her own West to Crossgales (Westerner-Mooreshill Bay) in the capable hands of her partner, Benny Walsh.
Barry O'Neill had a riding double in successive races to keep up his title challenge. In the older mares' maiden he had a half length to spare on Milan Express (Milan-Supreme Surprise) for Colin Bowe and Milestone Racing, from Shane O'Rourke on Francis Flood's The Bay Birch.
O'Neill followed up on Maple Mons for his northern patron, David Christie, who made the long trip from Fermanagh, in the open four-year-old plus race, from Liam Kenny's Vital Plot, under J.W. Kenny.
Jamie Codd had to accept second in the older geldings' maiden on Jim Dreaper's The Secret Mason, with Jason Scallan third on Willie Codd's Flabello.