Murphys lead way
Great weekend for Denis and Luke
Denis Murphy from The Ballagh was the star performer of a busy point-to-point weekend, with four maiden winners at far flung venues in Courtown, Limerick and Co. Down, and three of them were ridden by Luke Murphy from Inch who now has 17 winners already this season.
The Island Hunt meeting at Courtown on Sunday provided excellent fare and quite a good entry of 64 runners for the seven races. It was dominated by Wexford connections, with six local trainers sending out winners, with success for quite a few of the smaller yards.
It got off to a great start in the Tattersalls Ireland four-year-old maiden with Wexford's big guns fighting out a thrilling finish.
Jamie Codd got up in the shadow of the post on Denis Murphy's Baptism of Fire (by Jeremy) to deny Barry O'Neill by a head on Colin Bowe's Tupelo Mississippi.
Division 2 was Wexford dominated too, with Shane O'Rourke winning by a length on Crack Du Ninian (by Le Houssais) for Pierce Power from The Hook, helped by two front runners coming down.
Tiernan Power-Roche was second on Young Offender for Cormac Doyle, with Benny Walsh third on Skylanna Breeze for Matthew Flynn-O'Connor (Bunclody).
The Stone Solutions and Park Engineering five- and six-years-old mares' maiden went to Rob James on Moonlit Wings for owner Tom James and handler Andrew Latta (Ballycarney) by a snug six lengths, from Shane O'Rourke on Colin Bowe's Princess Cave, with Seán Doyle claiming third and fourth in a 14-runner field.
O'Rourke did complete his double in the Goffs Sales five-year-old geldings' maiden on Five Star Getaway (by Getaway) for Shirley and John A. Berry, clear of Barry O'Neill on Andrew Latta's Doubleubee, with Denis Murphy's Cantgetenough in third. This was Berry's first of the season.
Costalotmore, ridden and trained by Mark Scallan for Des Ellard, built on his recent Lingstown success with a runaway win in the Ire-Wel Pallets and Chris Hattom Winner of One, from Benny Walsh on John Patrick Walsh's (Ballyday, Gorey) Singing Banjo and Liam Kenny's Ya Boy Ya.
Rob James completed a double on Longhouse Music, the horse's seventh win for the season. He was a clear winner of the Casey Enterprises and Connollys Red Mills mares open for Sam Curling (Nenagh), with Benny Walsh second on John Patrick Walsh's Loggan Lady and James Kenny third on John Murphy's (Inch) Bloodstream.
Barry O'Neill had to wait until his final ride of the weekend to get his winner in the Kenneth Davies Tree Surgeon older horses' maiden, and it was a well-deserved success for Sadhbh's Delight, trained at Adamstown by Kieran Roche for John McCabe.
The horse had been placed five times in 14 previous outings and it was Roche's second win of the season.
Second was Harley Dunne on Denis Murphy's Carrig Hill, and third was Our Pocket Rocket for Don Cashman under M.J. Doyle.
Rathcannon, Co. Limerick, saw a strong Wexford contingent travel cross-country and dominate the important maiden races. Young Luke Murphy (Inch) and Denis Murphy (The Ballagh) combined for a big double.
The four-year-old mares' maiden was a thriller, with the Murphys winning by three parts of a length and two heads on Pure Bliss (by Mount Nelson), from Donnchadh Doyle's Annieguire and John Paul Brennan's Current Mood.
They doubled up in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, Goodoldtimes being a clear winner from J.C.D. Gainford on Colin Bowe's Cremant.
Donnchadh Doyle collected another four-year-old geldings'maiden with Firak (by Fuisse) under Jimmy O'Rourke, taking advantage of a slip-up approaching the last by James Hannon and Castle Robin.
Dean Sinnott (Bannow) had his first win of the season on Huckleberry Hill, getting up close home for a career-first training success by Limerick local, Lenny Flynn, in the five- and six-years-old mares' maiden.
The Westmeath Hunt raced at Castletowngeoghegan and Cormac Doyle, the youngest of the three Monbeg brothers, struck in the four-year-old maiden with Coconut Splash (by Stowaway) under Roger Quinlan.
Denis Murphy had one of his few setbacks when taking second in the five-years-old geldings' maiden with Eurowork under Simon Kavanagh, behind Liz Lalor on Fully Charged.
The Killeady Hunt raced at Dromahane in Cork and there was a minimal Wexford presence.
Moira, Co. Down, was the Saturday venue and there was just one Wexford winner, with Barry O'Neill drawing a rare blank from his five rides.
Luke Murphy scored in the five-year-old geldings' maiden on Denis Murphy's The Mulcair (by Flemensfirth).
Michael Goff's Berties Girl was second in the four-year-old maiden under Shane Fitzgerald, two and a half lengths behind Declan Lavery on Gigginstown's Direct Fire.
There are five meetings again this coming weekend, starting with Loughbrickland, Co. Down, on Saturday, followed by Dromahane in Cork, Stradbally in Laois, Bellurgan Park near Dundalk, and Askeaton, Co. Limerick.