Codd closes gap with fine treble
It was a good weekend for Jamie Codd on the point-to-point scene as he bids to wrest back his riding title, outscoring current champion and leader, Barry O'Neill, by four wins to one and cutting the lead at the top to just two, 21-19.
The two got a win apiece as racing resumed on the Northern circuit for the first time since early December at Tyrella, Co. Down, on Saturday and attracted nearly 70 runners.
O'Neill combined with his old ally, David Christie, to take the Open race on Eddies Miracle, the horse's sixth success.
Codd's win came on The Dabbler for Maurice Phelan from Kildare in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, despite being hampered by a loose horse near the end.
There was a strong Wexford input but no victory in the 13-runner five-year-old mares' maiden, won by Millarville for the Crawfords. Aaron Sinnott from Enniscorthy was second on Jumbo Davis for Kevin O'Donnell from Gowran, ahead of Barry O'Neill on Colin Bowe's Its All A Lark and Mark Scallan on Ashleigh Murphy's Redbridge Gold.
On Sunday, Codd headed for the re-fixed Dungarvan Farmers' Hunt meeting and notched a treble.
He took the five-year-old mares' maiden on Portnablagh for Liam O'Brien, a Fethard, Co. Tipperary, handler who has just two horses. Thankfully, there's still a place for the small man in point-to-point.
Codd made it a Fethard double when he won the older mares' maiden on Gills Pet for David Harry Kelly, and he completed his treble in the concluding older geldings' maiden on La Cavsa Nostra (Flemensfirth-Pharenna) for regular ally, Denis Murphy from The Ballagh.
It was a good day for also for two people from families steeped in racing - Denis Hickey from the famous Garryrichard Stud, Foulksmills, and young jockey Seán O'Keeffe from Taghmon combined to win the Open race with Rue Hill (Craigsteel-Romany River), building on a similar success at Borris last month.
Barry O'Neill opted for the North Tipperary Hunt meeting at Nenagh but, very unusually, came home empty-handed. The closest he came was second in the five-year-old mares' maiden on Youngoconnor for Cormac Doyle.
The day began on a high note for the Tomhaggard contingent in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, with young Tiernan Power-Roche winning well on Ask Dillon (Ask-Mum's Miracle) for Shirley and Benny Berry, leaving some big guns trailing.
Michael Goff's favourite, Senator's Glory, under Shane Fitzgerald, had to give best to Derek O'Connor on Declan Queally's Allannah's Gold in the Winner of One, and Luke Murphy (Inch) was second in the older geldings' maiden on Daryl Deacon's Coach Road.
It was disappointing that the two Munster meetings drew only 82 runners between them.
There are three meetings next Sunday, with big home interest in the Wexford Hunt fixture at Ballinaboola which starts at 1 p.m., and they also race at Bellharbour, Co. Clare, and Tallow in Waterford.