Luke's first treble
It was another hectic week with five point-to-point meetings from Cork to Clare and Antrim.
Star performer was 22-years-old Luke Murphy from Inch, Gorey, who had his first winner only 15 months ago and recorded his first career treble at Curraghmore in Waterford on Sunday.
The battle for the riders' title is unchanged after Barry O'Neill (33), Jamie Codd (32) and Derek O'Connor (29) had two wins each; Rob James is next on 22. Donnchadh Doyle is leading trainer on 20, three ahead of Colin Bowe.
At Curraghmore, Luke Murphy won the five-year-old geldings' maiden on Liam Kenny's (Craanford) and the Orphan Girl Syndicate's Rock on Carlos (Carlo Bank-Rosnalee Lass).
He took the five-year-old plus mares' maiden for local trainer James Sheehan, and finished off with the novice riders' older geldings' maiden with Ballinasilla (Golan-Money Penny) for Bernadette Murphy from Blackwater.
Vincent and James Devereux (Rosstoonstown) won again, this time with Ard Chros (Publisher-Threecrossmammies) under Shane O'Rourke (Foulksmills), following up on his November success at Lingstown.
Jamie Codd had just one fruitless ride before departing for the bumper at Fairyhouse where his Gordon Elliott mount did not figure.
The Wexford stables contested both four-year-old maiden races at Killeigh on Wednesday, but had to accept second in both - Seán Thomas Doyle's Etincelle Lioterie in the mares and Colin Bowe's Kiltealy Briggs, beaten a neck in the geldings.
There was a strong Wexford contingent at Loughanmore, Co. Antrim, on Saturday. There was a Jamie Codd/Denis Murphy/Pat Coffey double in both the five-year-old maidens - on Lough Derg Rose (Stowaway-Good Looking Woman) in the mares, well ahead of Barry O'Neill on David Christie's Jasper Bear, and on Norwegian Woods (Arcadio-Water Ore) in the 15-runner geldings', by five lengths from Rob James on Donnchadh Doyle's Diomede des Mottes.
James and Doyle won the four-year-old.mares' maiden in a thriller on Tara West (Kayf Tara-West River), edging out Codd and Murphy's Little Light, with Jenny Roche and Benny Walsh third on Crossgalesfamegame.
James came within inches of his double when he was beaten in the geldings' winner of two when Thatsy just failed to follow up on his Lingstown win, Derek O'Connor pipping him by a head on Ian Ferguson's Manetti.
O'Neill did get his winner for the day in the Mares' Open on David Christie's Corella Creek, clear of Luke Murphy (Inch) on his parents' Bloodstream
Rob James and Donnchadh Doyle struck again in the Westmeath Hunt meeting at Castletown-Geoghegan on Sunday, with Gaelik Coast (Coastal Path-Gaelika) easing home impressively in the four-years-old maiden, from Barry O'Neill on Colin Bowe's Highway Companion.
James repeated the dose in the five-years-old mares' maiden on Martin Brassil's Maple Flyer, well clear of O'Neill and Bowe's Queen of the Court.
O'Neill finally got his winner and turned the tables in a thrilling Open for the historic Barbour Cup with Uxizandre for Pádraig Roche, with James a head behind on Sammantom.
Local Westmeath rider, Simon Cavanagh, took the five-years-old geldings' maiden with Denis Murphy's and Pat Coffey's Arctic Road, getting up by a short head despite being hampered, and James Kenny from Craanford took the concluding novice riders' race on Steelambition for Claire Howes.
There was very little Wexford representation at Derek O'Connor's home meeting at Quakerstown in Clare.
There are a couple of cancellations next weekend but the local Island Hunt stage their meeting at Courtown on Sunday, the first off at 2 p.m.; they also race on at Dromahane in Cork, Bellurgan Park in Louth, and Rathcannon, Co. Limerick.