Codd, O'Neill win on double
Point-to-point at Lingstown
There was some good sport, thrills and spills at the Killinick Harriers point-to-point meeting at Lingstown on Sunday with the six races being run off in dry but overcast conditions, and local trainers and riders playing a key role in most of them.
Riding honours were shared by champions for the past two years, Barry O'Neill and Jamie Codd, both of whom recorded a double, and trainer Donnchadh Doyle from Ballindaggin got off the mark for the season with rider, Rob James.
At Kirkistown, Co. Down, on Saturday, O'Neill had another winning double while Codd had one and the two of them are tied in the riders' championship on twelve each, but there is a long way to go.
The action began with the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham and Ascot Sales four-year-old maiden, and Darsi in the Park (Darsi-Rock in the Park) will have a date at the Cheltenham sales ring next month after giving Donnchadh Doyle his first win of the season for the Monbeg Syndicate under Rob James from Killanne.
He had three lengths to spare over the favourite, Captain Drake, ridden by Jamie Codd for Denis Murphy, The Ballagh, with Plan of Escape fourth of twelve for Seán Thomas Doyle and Barry O'Neill.
In Arrears (Beneficial-Gullet Dawn), trained by champion trainer Colin Bowe (Kiltealy) for James Bolger, gave O'Neill the first leg of his double in the five-year-old mares' maiden. He was headed two out by Native Way, ridden by Gary Murphy (Ballycullane) for trainer Richard O'Keeffe (Taghmon) and owner Paddy McDonald (Barntown), but In Arrears hit the front again at the last to win going away. Jamie Codd was third on Tourgar Pure Gold for Ross O'Sullivan (Kildare).
Codd hit back in the next, the Kilkenny River Court Hotel five-year-old geldings' maiden, but he had luck on his side. Gary Murphy seemed to have it wrapped up on Irish Apollo for Ashleigh and Michael Murphy (Duncormick) despite hitting the second last, but he crumpled at the last, leaving it to Codd to clinch it on the favourite, I Am Sailing, for Margaret Mullins.
O'Neill was finishing best of all on Mosie McCabe's (Adamstown) Brasco but he was two lengths back, with third going to young Tiernan Roche (Tomhaggard) on Gordon Doyle's (New Ross) Ballysop.
Codd completed his double in the Keating Horse Transport open lightweight event over 26 cross-country fences, including the famous Lingstown banks, which was contested by some very good horses. He was on favourite, Venitien De Mai, trained by Jim Dreaper for the late Alan Potts who died just last week, with his stamina telling from two out.
Second again were the Murphys, after a good run by Better B Quick under Gary, for Ashleigh and Michael, and third was former winner of the famous Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, eleven-years-old My Murphy, for Liam Burke from Mallow.
O'Neill completed his double in the Kilmore Potatoes Ltd & Cooney Furlong Grain Ltd. Winners of Two race on Johnny Sue, his first winner for Carlow trainer, William Murphy. He brought him through the field from the rear to score impressively by two lengths over Bill Durkan's Screaming Colours, with Makeapoint third just a head back under Shane O'Rourke (Foulksmills) for Vincent and Jimmy Devereux (Rostoonstown).
The concluding Inish Pebble Company Ltd. older horses' maiden saw a comfortable win for J.J. Walsh (Tinahely) aboard Johns Choice, owned and trained by Simon Kenny (Clonegal). Codd was second on Eamonn Sinnott's Lilymae and Anthony Doyle (Duncormick) was third on Ashleigh Murphy's Belushed.
Arrangements were run off like clockwork as usual at Lingstown, and all involved can feel happy with a job well done. The course and the fences were in good condition. There was a reasonable attendance but the involvement of St. Martin's in both Leinster hurling and camogie championships may have reduced the numbers somewhat.
At Kirkistown, Co. Down, on Saturday, Barry O'Neill's double came for northern connections. He won the four-year-old maiden on David Christie's very impressive Sometime Soon, ahead of Jamie Codd on Denis Murphy's Always on the Ball. He took the second five-year-old plus mares'maiden in a battling finish on Neil McKnight's Whysoserious.
Codd turned the tables in the five-year-old geldings' maiden on Denis Murphy's Davy Street (Grape Tree Road-Miner Yours), with O'Neill second on McKnight's Outside the Ring. A good jump at the last was decisive.
There was very little Wexford involvement in the Golden Vales Hunt meeting at Tortulla, Thurles.
There are two meetings next Sunday, the West Waterford Hunt at Boulta, Ballynoe, in Cork, and the Suir Vale Hunt at Knockinroe, near Templemore, Tipperary.