Home ground wins
Bowe, James and O’Sullivan deliver
The full card was successfully run off at Bettyville racecourse on Wednesday night in pretty miserable conditions, with trainers Colin Bowe (Kiltealy) and Tom James (Enniscorthy) and jockey James O'Sullivan scoring for the locals, and a couple of favourites obliging to keep punters happy.
Most of the top riders were present and quite a few of the leading stables represented, with plenty of runners causing one of the hurdle races to be divided, making it an eight-race card in soft and murky conditions.
Colin Bowe, fresh from his fifth win as leading Irish point-to-point trainer of the year, celeberated in style with a 20/1 shock winner at his local track, his Regal D'Argent getting the better of even money favourite, Delayed Eloquence, under Davy Russell for Joseph O'Brien in the Boolavogue mares' maiden hurdle over two and a half miles.
The favourite seemed to be going easily when joined by Paddy Kennedy on Bowe's horse three furlongs out, but Regal D'Argent kept on finding and after a ding-dong battle up the straight prevailed by three parts of a length. The two of them were miles clear of the rest.
Bowe had another good run in the Vinegar Hill hurdle, a real stamina test over three miles, his Amaulino (5/1) coming second under Mark Walsh to odds-on favourite, Coquin Mans (4/6), for the Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins pairing.
Amaulino led into the straight and kept going quite well but the favourite ranged up, going even better, and won nicely despite jumping left at the final two hurdles. There is surely a race in the Bowe horse before long.
Soul Season, trained by Tom James and ridden by James O'Sullivan from Enniscorthy, certainly has a liking for Wexford as he has had two wins and a second from his last three runs there, giving the young jockey his first two wins as a professional.
This time he won Division 2 of the Oulart Handicap Hurdle, a race where local connections did well. At 5/1 second favourite, eleven-years-old Soul Season did it nicely, staying on well to beat Alan Lynch on Kiln Rock (4/1f) by two lengths, with Redmond Hall (7/1) third for Paul Nolan under Dylan Robinson, and Seán Flanagan fourth on Field Exhibition.
He came through from the back of the field in the last five furlongs and O'Sullivan got a lovely run up the inside around the last bend and won cosily in the end. Trainer James certainly knows Wexford racecourse better than most as he explained:
'We have a plant hire business and did all the work on the track, including the track extension. I've been trying to win races here for years and I've got two now so I'm happy with that!
'He is a good horse and is well-bred and very consistent. Hopefully he'll stay sound and we'll keep him on the go. If there is another race here for him we'll be back but I wouldn't be afraid to go anywhere with him.'
Bentelimar (11/4), under Brian O'Connell for Shay Barry from Waterford, was a clear winner of the five-runner Carrickbyrne Novice Chase, with Annamatopoeia running into third for Brian Jordan (Rathangan) under Benny Walsh (Murrintown).
There was a strong Wexford air about the three-mile plus Rosslare Handicap Chase as Prosperity Square (8/1) romped to victory for Conor O'Dwyer, the Wexford town man who won two Cheltenham Gold Cups and two Champion Hurdles as a jockey.
He has trained in Kildare for quite a few years and this was a welcome winner under Ricky Doyle. He had sent out his only point-to-point winner of the season at Ballingarry on the previous Sunday to help Ballindaggin's Barry O'Neill capture his first national jockey's title.
Ted's Island (6/1) was second for Benny Walsh and trainer Michael John Murphy from Kilmore.
The concluding bumper went to odds-on favourite Suncroft, ridden by Stephen Clements for trainer Alan Fleming and owner, Barry Connell. He had just half a length to spare over Peacock's Secret, for Patrick and Emmet Mullins. Jamie Codd was in contention on Nemean Lion for Joseph O'Brien but faded into fourth.
The fancied pair fought it out in the opening 14-runner Welcome to Wexford Racecourse maiden hurdle, victory going to Denham Sound (13/8f) for Mark Walsh and trainer Charles Byrnes, from Herminio (7/4) for Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins. Fourth was Rolanna (25/1), ridden by Seán Flanagan for William J. Martin from Clonhaston, Enniscorthy.
Another short-priced favourite won Division 1 of the Oulart Handicap Hurdle, Ellmarie Holden from Ballyhale in Kilkenny scoring one for the ladies with Sir Jack Yeats (15/8), ridden by Donagh Meyler. He was well clear of Lash It On (11/2) for Davy Russell and Charles Byrnes.
There will be a third successive Wednesday evening meeting at Bettyville on June 21.