Murphy spreads net
Four winners at three different venues
Trainer Denis Murphy from Ballyboy, The Ballagh, spread his net far and wide on Sunday to amass four winners at three different venues, his double at Courtown being supplemented by singles at Belclare in Galway and Bellurgan Park, Co. Louth. It was a big day also for Seán Byrne from Blackwater who sent out his first winner as a trainer up in Co. Louth.
The Island Hunt staged the last Wexford-based meeting of the season at Ounavarragh, Courtown, on Sunday and it was a very successful event. The honours were kept almost exclusively at home, with five winners being trained in the county and all six being booted home by Wexford riders.
Jamie Codd got two early winners for Denis Murphy to cut Barry O'Neill's championship lead to two. Just two of nine finished in Division 2 of the Tattersalls four-year-old maiden, and Codd was a comfortable winner on Active Force (Oscar-Terracotta Queen) over Ray Cody on Shirley Berry's (Tomhaggard) The Devils Drop.
Codd and Murphy doubled up in the Connollys Red Mills five-year-old mares' maiden with Belmont Jewel (Westerner-Maddy's Supreme), just a length and a half ahead of Westerner Ocean for the Corrigans from Blackwater, with Tiernan Roche (Tomhaggard) third on Brian Jordan's (Rathangan) Kate of the Gorrox.
However, O'Neill struck back with a double of his own later in the card. He was at his very best in the Tom Doyle Tiles five-year-old geldings' maiden when he got up Colin Bowe's Lord Getaway (Getaway-Terre D'Orient) by a head on the line, to deny Shane Fitzgerald on Michael Goff's Fenlons Court. Gary Murphy was third on Getaway Bay for Ashleigh and Michael Murphy (Duncormick).
O'Neill won the Stone Solutions open race on Jim Dreaper's Cavite Beta, which Jamie Codd won on the previous week, a length ahead of Rob James on John and Marie Brennan's (Camolin) Need to Know and Gary Spain on former Cheltenham winner, Sir Des Champs.
The opening Tattersalls four-year-old maiden (Division 2) was won by J.J. Walsh (Tinahely) on Donnchadh Doyle's Heroesandvillains (Beneficial-Keys Pride); his brother, Seán Doyle, was second on Clash of D Titans under Rob James, and Barry O'Neill was third on Amendola for Colin Bowe.
Rob James got his winner in the IRE Wel Pallets & Casey Concrete winner of one on Burning Ambition, trained at The Hook by Pierce Power for his sister-in-law, Alexandria Gardner. Second was Barry O'Neill on Seán Byrne's (Kildare), Buzzkillbob, with Shane O'Rourke third on Makeapoint for Vincent and Jimmy Devereux, Rostoonstown.
Well done to all involved for a good day's sport.
A strong Wexford contingent made the long trip to Belclare for the North Galway Hunt meeting and made a big impact. It was a great day for veteran Benny Walsh (Murrintown) who had a good double. He won the four-year-old maiden with a great ride for another of the Monbeg Doyle brothers, Cormac, with First Assignment (Vinnie Roe-Rebel Dream). Jimmy O'Rourke was second on Bernadette Murphy's (The Ballagh) Red River; she is a sister of trainer Denis Murphy.
He followed up in the five- and six-year-old mares' maiden on Ayleoola for Paudie Coffey (Nenagh), with O'Rourke second again on the Crazed Moon for Sam Curling, Tipperary.
Luck turned for O'Rourke in the mares' winner of two on Kings Dolly, trained by former Wexford resident, Colin Motherway, now back home in Cork, and he struck again in the five- and six-year-old geldings' maiden on Dream Brother (Oscar-Warmley's Gem) for Denis Murphy, half the runners failing to get around.
Derek O'Connor overcame a frustrating day to win the last two races and thus the riders' title race remains unchanged as all three contenders had two wins each.
Harley Dunne scored a nice double at Bellurgan Park, Co. Louth, and one of them was a significant first career win for trainer Seán C. Byrne, Blackwater, a former rider who has turned to training. Devito'sgoldengirl (Goldwell-Caracool) was the milestone winner in the older mares' maiden, owned by Seán's father, Aidan. He is brother of Maria Byrne who has had so many winners with her partner, Denis Murphy.
It's hard to keep Murphy out of it this week and his fourth winner came in the four-year-old mares' maiden for Maria, with Harley Dunne doing the steering on Princess Roxy (Midnight Legend-Royal Roxy).
There was little Wexford involvement or impact at the Dromahane meeting in Cork.
It is even more hectic this week with six meetings listed. They race at Tallow, Co. Waterford, on Wednesday; at Loughanmore, Co. Antrim, on Saturday, and on Sunday at Oldcastle, Co. Meath; at Boston, Co. Clare, Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois, and Curraghmore, Portlaw, Co. Waterford.