O'Neill on double
Good turn-out for Moorfields meet
There was a good turn-out for the Wexford Hunt point-to-point at Ballinaboola on Sunday in cold but bright conditions, considering the counter-attractions at Wexford Park and Leopardstown. Champion rider, Barry O'Neill, and Richie Deegan from Borris both had doubles.
O'Neill combined with Colin Bowe to take the Arctic Tack Stud four-year-old maiden by an impressive ten lengths with French-bred Envoi Allen (Murathir-Reaction).
Second was Nearly Perfect for Harley Dunne and James W. Doyle (Monageer), and third was Derek O'Connor on the hot favourite, Appreciate It for Pat Doyle.
O'Connor then headed off to Leopardstown where he pulled off a 33/1 shock for Joseph O'Brien and J.P. McManus in the €200,000 Unibet Irish Gold Cup with Edwulf, a very rare feat for an amateur rider and on a horse that survived a life-threatening accident at Cheltenham last year.
O'Neill completed his double in the Nitrofert six-year-old geldings' maiden on Billaway for Tracey Gilmour, with Benny Walsh third on Jenny Roche's On Raglan Road.
Deegan won on Salty Boy for Mag Mullins in the Tattersalls Ireland five-year-old geldings' maiden, ahead of Tracks and Trails for Seán Thomas Doyle and Redzor for Harley Dunne and Liam Kenny. He followed up with Madera Express for Peter Fahey, ahead of Keith Corrigan on Killisk Ben Rose.
Local rider, Conor Murphy from Ramsgrange, won the Ballywalter Farms Winner of Three with Carrignagapple for Cathy M. Hamilton, while the concluding Horse and Hound Hotel seven-year-old plus maiden for novice riders went to Troll D'Oudairies under Denis Murphy from Fermoy, with Seán O'Keeffe from Taghmon second on Vivalino.
There was a certain note of sadness overshadowing the proceedings because of the sudden death earlier in the week of William Codd, Mayglass, a top rider, trainer and all-round horseman for over 25 years.
A minute's silence was observed and all jockeys wore black armbands as a mark of respect to a friend and colleague, with special sympathy to William's brother and their weekly riding rival, Jamie Codd.
I asked current champion rider, Barry O'Neill, for a word on behalf of all involved in the close-knit point-to-point scene. He paid tribute to William for all his achievements in a lifetime with horses.
'I knew him personally and he was a great man. I offer sincere sympathy personally and on behalf of all to William's family and friends, and especially to Jamie, on their great loss.'
The Co. Clare Hunt raced at Belharbour and Rob James (Killanne) made the long trip pay off when he won the five-year-old geldings' maiden on the very impressive Dlauro (Lauro-Gergovie De Bussy) for Donnchadh Doyle and Monbeg. James was second in the Open on Marinero behind Pat Doyle's Sydney Paget.
Cormac Doyle was not to be outdone by his brother, Donnchadh, and took the four-year-old maiden at the Waterford Hunt meeting at Tallow with Some Operator (September Storm-Emilies Pearl) under James Walsh, a length ahead of favourite, Notachance, for Denis Murphy and rider, Jimmy O'Rourke.
They race at Kirkistown, north Down, on Saturday, with three meetings on Sunday at Oldtown, Co. Meath, Knockanard in Cork, and Stonehall Harriers near Askeaton, Co. Limerick.