Hunt members have good day
Limerick and Meath success
Sunday was a red letter day for some Wexford Hunt connections on the point-to-point scene at meetings in Limerick and Meath, and at the other end of the scale two Wexfordmen are fighting it out for the national trainers' title.
Don Cashman, from the Steeple Stud, Rathgarogue, sent out Bobby the Gangster (Craigsteel-Agusta Lucinda), owned by his partner, Talitha Doran, who went away for a convincing win under Eddie Keating from Gusserane in the five-year-old geldings' maiden at Fairyhouse.
Don and Talitha have been in horses for a very long time and this success was well deserved. Bríd Shannon is based in Limerick and trained her first-ever winner for close family friends, and stalwart Wexford Hunt supporters, Margaret Kelly from Clonlard, Fethard, and Nicky Keating from Ramsgrange.
She scored in the five-year-old plus mares' maiden at Askeaton with Legal Proceedings (Witness Box-Disposen), jockey B.J. Foley holding on by half a length.
Pierce Michael Power from the Hook area made it a great day for Wexford Hunt members when he sent out Bertalus (City Honours-Deep Dalus), to build on his Durrow maiden win in March to score again in the winner of one, ridden by Kevin Power for R. Hume and D. Lalor, Second here was Colin Bowe's Freddie's Portrait, ridden by Rob James.
Jamie Codd had a quick double at the Meath Foxhounds and Tara Harriers meeting at Fairyhouse, In the opening four-year-old mares' maiden Codd put in a storming finish to get up on Kilronan Castle for Gavin Cromwell, beating Thyne for Gold by a neck for the Wexford team of Harley Dunne and trainer Seán Thomas Doyle.
Codd completed his double in the winner of one on short-priced favourite Derryfada for Niall Madden, staying on well to win by a length.
In other races at the Stonehall Harriers meet at Askeaton, there was an above average four-year-old mares' maiden, with victory going to Pat Doyle's Cresswell Legend, with good runs from Colin Bowe's Kings Line under Rob James, and Paul Power's Game Puppeteer.
In the five- and six-year-old geldings' maiden (Division 1), luck turned for Rob James (Ballindaggin) as he guided Air Glider (Mountain High-California Blue) to a three lengths win for Donnchadh Doyle and the Monbeg Syndicate, the horse having already been placed a few times this season.
Donnchadh Doyle struck in the first, the four-year-old mares' maiden, at Doneraile Foxhounds at Dromahane in Cork, with Out of Style (Court Cave-Portanob) scoring in style under J.T. Carroll.
On Friday and Saturday the Killultagh, Old Rock and Chichester Harriers two-day fixture was on at Largy Road, Co. Antrim, with the battle for Northern Region riders' championship intense, just a couple of wins separating the top four.
However, by Saturday night Derek O'Connor had forged ahead to 19 with four wins over the two days; Barry O'Neill had to be content with one winner and suffered an injury on Friday that kept him out of action for the rest of the weekend.
He is joined on the 16 mark by Noel McParlan and Jamie Codd is unmoved in fourth on 13. There are just three racing days left up north, so O'Connor seems in the driving seat.
O'Neill's win came in the five-year-old mares' maiden on Colin Bowe's Escape Footwear (Mahler-Dolly Dove), well deserved after being second three times. Rob James was second on Donnchadh Doyle's Savingforvegas.
James had an unlucky start to the meeting when he came to grief at the last when in charge on Mo Chailin for Seán Thomas Doyle and the Monbeg Syndicate, allowing O'Connor to get home on Sister Saragh for Aidan Fitzgerald from across the border in Wicklow.
A distant second was Willie Codd's Brooklyn Babe ridden by his brother, Jamie, and third was Mark Scallan, Cleariestown, on Shirley Berry's Moment. In the final six-year-old mares' maiden, Rob James was a close second again on Bombay Bella, trained by Paul Martin Pierce, Killurin.
On Saturday, there was only one winner with Wexford connections. Rob James came in for the injured Barry O'Neill and got his winner at last in the mares' winners of three on Maple Mons for local connections. This was overdue as the mare had been second five times.
Colin Bowe leads the trainers' table with 22 winners, one ahead of Donnchadh Doyle who is bidding for his first overall title, with Cork's Robert Tyner on 17 and Gordon Elliott on 15.
With a month to go in the season, Derek O'Connor is set to regain his rider's title from Jamie Codd as he leads by 79 to 63; Barry O'Neill is third on 36 and Rob James, last year's novice champion, is on 19.