Barry bags double
The large Wexford contingent dominated the well-attended Bree Hunt meeting at Monksgrange, Rathnure, on Sunday, with Barry O'Neill bagging a first and last race riding double, as the honours were well spread with six Wexford stables sharing the six races.
Colin Bowe and Barry O'Neill struck early in the strong-looking IRE Wel Pallets four-year-old mares' maiden that produced a thrilling finish.
Their Cill Anna (daughter of Imperial Monarch) prevailed by a head after a prolonged duel with Harley Dunne on Ellen Doyle's Who's the Boss, both well clear of the third, Queen's Brook under Richie Deegan.
Doyle (Coolgarrow) and Dunne got quick compensation in the Tattersalls four-year-old geldings' maiden, with Israel Champ (by Milan) romping home from Jamie Codd on Denis Murphy's On The Bandwagon and Luke Murphy on Cormac Doyle's One True King. This winner will create big interest at the sales.
Alko Rouge looked like making it a double for Doyle in the Goffs Aintree Sale five-year-old geldings' maiden when bowling along over 20 lengths clear under Barry Stone (Cleariestown), but they were reeled in by a well-timed run by the in-form Tiernan Power-Roche (Tomhaggard) on Vinnie Dev (by Vinnie Roe) for Ashleigh and Michael Murphy (Duncormick). Liz Doyle's Gold Bandit was well back in third.
Get the Appeal, second in Lingstown recently, was a 15 lengths winner of the Nitrofert older mares' maiden for James Kenny (Camolin), for Cormac Farrell (Bunclody).
Second was Shoot to Fame under Harley Dunne for Seán Doyle (Monbeg), with Barry O'Neill a distant third on Colin Bowe's Don't Dismiss Me.
Notice to Close was a clear winner of the Cooney-Furlong Winner of Two for Seamus Neville (Bridgetown) and Mikie O'Connor, completing a seasonal hat-trick, with Jamie Codd second on Whatsdastory. He may well now head for a track bumper.
Barry O'Neill went on to complete his double on Oscar Academy for John Paul Brennan in the Ballywalter Bloodstock older geldings' maiden, from Kieran Purcell's Orpen Wells.
It was a most enjoyable day's racing with over 60 horses contesting the six races, and it all went off like clockwork
There was a small Wexford contingent at Ballynoe in Cork but Colin Bowe completed an across the cards four-year-old maiden double with Michael O'Sullivan forcing It Sure Is (by Shirocco) home by half a length from Bloodstone for Pat Doyle and Gigginstown.
Bowe missed out in the Gain Mares' final which carried a €3,000 bonus - one of the biggest prizes of the year - with Jimmy O'Rourke (Glenville, Wexford) on Fort Worth Texas unable to hunt down Shark Hanlon's Dime a Dozen.
Shane O'Rourke continued his recent good form with an early double at Lisronagh, Clonmel.
The Foulksmills man steered Ashfield Paddy (by Publisher) to a half-length win for Vincent and Jimmy Devereux in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, building on a debut third at Lingstown recently. Behind him were Up the Straight under Brian Lawless (Delgany) for Donnchadh Doyle and Openthebackdoor under Simon Cavanagh for John Paul Brennan.
O'Rourke had an easier win in the older mares' maiden, with four lengths to spare on Catchmeifyoucan (Touch of Land), trained at Tomhaggard by Benny Walsh for owner/breeder Peter Aspel from Adamstown.
Royal Crown was second in the four-year-old maiden for Bowe under James Kenny, behind Sam Curling's (Nenagh) Pens Man, with Denis Murphy's Face the Odds in third.
Rob James had a great day at Portrush on Saturday, riding a treble in the important maiden races for the Doyle brothers, Donnchadh and Cormac.
The four-year-old maiden was divided, and James and Donnchadh Doyle combined to win both legs in comfortable style.
Vendemere (by Jeremy) took the first by seven lengths, going clear after the second last to beat Barry O'Neill on Colin Bowe's Ahead of Schedule and Harley Dunne on his own Deluxe Range, handled by Liam Kenny.
He took the second leg on Grandad's Cottage (by Shantou), over eight lengths ahead of Jamie Codd on Denis Murphy's The Bosses Oscar, and he completed his treble in the 17-runner five-year-old plus mares' maiden on Cormac Doyle's Darling Daughter (by Presenting), holding off Codd on the Jim Dreaper-trained favourite, Shopping Around.
He came close to a four-timer as he was a close up second in the Winner of Two on Donnchadh's Madera Mist, with the stewards inquiring but leaving the race with Noel McParlan on Royal Drumlee
Codd had a frustrating time with four seconds and a third over a win-less weekend.
O'Neill is still well clear in the riders' title race on 44, from Derek O'Connor (28), Rob James now in third (25), Jamie Codd (24) and Luke Murphy joint fifth (14).
Colin Bowe is leading trainer on 27, by seven from Sam Curling, with Donnchadh Doyle moving up on 17.
The Island Hunt host their annual meeting at Ounavarragh, Courtown, on Sunday, starting at 2 p.m.
It is a busy weekend which starts at Moira, Co. Down, on Saturday, and on Sunday they also race at Rathcannon in Limerick, Fermoy in Cork, and Mullingar.