Fine first win for O'Sullivan
Two local trainers produced winners, there was a first professional win for a Wexford jockey, and there were some other notable performances at the Wexford races at Bettyville on Saturday, with the County Camogie Board using the occasion as a promotional event.
Highlights were the fourth win from four Wexford runs for Tellthemnuttin and Mayglass trainer Willie Codd (Mayglass) and the Heads or Harps syndicate, and the victory of Soul Season for Camolin owner-trainer, Thomas James, which provided a first win for Camolin jockey, James O'Sullivan.
What a ten days or so it has been for the Codd family; jockey Jamie won the amateur riders' title on the track for the first time last Saturday week; he and his brother Willie combined for three point-to-point wins in Galway and Cork in the next two days; Jamie then rode a treble on the track at Downpatrick on Friday night for Gordon Elliott, and Willie put more icing on the cake with Tellthemnuttin's snug success at Wexford.
The six-year-old justified 15/8 favouritism in the Jennifer & Gillian Kerins Supporting Wexford Camogie Handicap Hurdle over three miles, winning by four lengths under young Waterford rider, Dylan Robinson, from High Nellie (12/1) and Mister First (12/1).
A very happy Willie Codd said afterwards: 'I don't how to describe it. She is four from four here. She just seems to turn in to that second last and just relishes going up in front of the stands. She knows this place pretty well now and loves coming here. She is just a pleasure to train. The step up in trip this year has definitely helped. We'll tip away with her for the summer'.
Young James O'Sullivan had a memorable day with his first win as a pro, and he certainly gave Soul Season (14/1) a professional ride to get up on the inside by a neck on the line to take division two of the Treacy's Hotel Enniscorthy Supporting Wexford Camogie Handicap Hurdle.
It was also a great training performance by Thomas James as the eleven-year-old has had a troubled history.
He won a point-to-point on his second run over five years ago, and was off the track for three years until re-appearing in March, 2016.
The Irritator (4/1) was the one pipped under Ger Fox for Pat Collins, and Bullowney (25/1) was another three parts of a length back in third.
Thomas James said afterwards of his first winner for more than two years: 'He is very well bred and is half-brother to Monkerhostin and Eric's Charm. He is a very good horse if you could just keep him right, and hopefully he comes out of today alright. If he does, I'll keep him on the go now'.
The opening Donnchadh Doyle's Monbeg Stables Supporting Wexford Camogie mares'maiden hurdle was won by the favourite, Miss Sapphire, for trainer Willie Mullins and his nephew, Danny, but a couple of Wexford horses ran well to fill the places. This one is owned by the Blue Bloods Racing Club, all members of the Gardaí.
A good second was The Kings Baby (13/2) for Adamstown trainer Mosey McCabe and five-pound claimer, Conor Brassil from Kildare, and third was Miss Sassie (belying her 25/1 price), trained by Paul Nolan at Davidstown and ridden by Dylan Robinson.
The day's feature was the five-runner Casey Enterprises Supporting Wexford Camogie €20,000 rated hurdle, and there was some controversy. Henry De Bromhead's 11/10 favourite, Stars Over The Sea, was almost left at the start under Dylan Robinson. He was hanging back from the rest and just as somebody ran out to lead him in, the flag was dropped and he took off more than 50 yards behind.
He made up the ground perhaps too quickly and was soon second and actually led into the straight but was passed by Shadagann (8/1) and Paul Townend to give flat expert Mick Halford a rare National Hunt winner. Jaime Sommers was second and then came Stars Over The Sea.
The starter reported to the stewards that Stars Over the Sea 'showed reluctance to line up with the others'. While this is true, I felt the horse should have been given more time to join the starting line.
There was a real shocker in Division 1 of the Denis Murphy Racing & MSK Silversands Supporting Wexford Camogie Handicap Hurdle which went to handicap debutant Drakania (20/1), trained and ridden by Paul Power from Waterford. Forty lengths was the closest she was to the winners in her previous three races.
Second here was favourite Tintown Robin (100/30) for Philip Enright and trainer Vincent Halley from Kill in Waterford, and third was Alterno (18/1), owned by Jim Bolger's wife, Jackie.
The concluding Irish Stallion Farms EBF bumper produced an exciting finish and went to Jennys Grey (14/1) for trainer James Daniel Dullea (Cork) and rider Declan Queally (Waterford), half a length in front of Iamastartoo (5/1) for Noel Meade and Danny Benson, with Decision Time (9/2) a neck back in third for Katie Walsh and John Kiely.
It was a tough day for punters and the small jackpot was never in danger with a 20/1 winner and two at 14/1.
However, there were some exciting finishes and those local wins to be enjoyed in dry and sunny conditions. They race again at Wexford on Wednesday, May 24.