O'Neill tightens grip
Treble in Co. Louth extends lead to 18
Champion rider for the past two years, Barry O'Neill tightened his grip on the current title race with a treble at Bellurgan Park, Co. Louth, on Sunday and extended his lead over Derek O'Connor to 18 with six weeks left in the season. If he stays injury free, it is hard to see him being caught.
Wexford connections filled the first four places in the four-year-old mares' maiden, with victory going to Barry O'Neill and Colin Bowe with Gigginstown's Domitian (Getaway), from Jamie Codd on Denis Murphy's Doin'whatshelikes.
Meath trainer Peter Flood foiled the Wexford raiders in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, with his Brief Ambition holding Liam Kenny's and Gavan Kinch's On Terms under Harley Dunne and Barry O'Neill on John Paul Brennan's Openthebackdoor.
O'Neill doubled up in the Winner of One on Brennan's Oscar Academy, building on his recent success at Monksgrange, and made it three in the concluding older geldings' maiden on Briar Lane for Benny and Jenny Walsh. .
At Stradbally House in Laois, there was a Wexford clean sweep in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, with James Kenny making all on Colin Bowe's Look Alive, from Barry Stone on Benny Walsh's Lough Har.
Kenny made it a double in the Winner of Three on Crutches for William Murphy from Rathoe, Co. Carlow, and John and Anna Berry took the closing mares'maiden with Court Glory under John O'Neill, from Moonshot under Simon Cavanagh for Cormac Farrell.
At Dromahane in Cork, a small Wexford team took the main event when Shane O'Rourke scored his first win for Cormac Doyle and Monbeg in the four-year-old maiden auction race, getting back up close home on Bobhopeornohope.
Cormac's brother, Donnachadh, was second with Black Gerry under Tiernan Roche-Power.
At Ballysteen, Co. Limerick, there was limited Wexford involvement with James Walsh (Tinahely) taking second on Donnchadh Doyle's Texas Gold in the four-year-old maiden, behind Derek O'Connor on Ellmarie Holden's Calthor. Walsh won the older mares' maiden on his father, John Edward's, Getaway Mag.
At Loughbrickland, Co. Down, on Saturday, Donnchadh Doyle's Mossy Fen got quick compensation for a first fence fall the previous Sunday when winning the four-year-old maiden in good style under James Walsh.
Jamie Codd won the older mares' maiden on Jim Dreaper's Shopping Around, with Walsh third on Kieran Roche's Racks Cross.
Codd and Dreaper lost out on a double in the Open with Attribution's late run held by Luke Murphy on David Christie's Sabremont.
There is a midweek meeting at Tallow in Waterford on Wednesday.
They race at Loughanmore, Co. Antrim, on Saturday, and at Oldcastle, Co. Meath, Quakerstown, Co. Clare, and Portlaw, Co. Waterford, on Sunday.
In other news, Wexford horses continued to dominate the sales ring at the Goffs Aintree Grand National meeting sale, with ten recent point-to-point runners being sold for a combined €1.85 million (£1.6m).
Colin Bowe created a new record for the sale when getting £440k for Papa Tango Charly (by No Risk at All).
This one won a strong four-year-old maiden at Liscarroll under Barry O'Neill and went to trainer Jonjo O"Neill. The first three in that race sold for a combined £715k.
Big Bresil (son of Blue Bresil), bought by Donnchadh Doyle for €40k last summer, went for £170k, while third was sold for £105k.
Bowe sold four horses for a total of £815k.
His It Sure Is (by Shirocco) went for £150k having being bought by Rob James for €48k the previous summer, and Royal Crown (by Creachadoir) went to Colin Tizzard for £110k, having been bought in for €55k.
He also sold the best priced mare at the sale - Cill Anna (by Imperial Monarch), which won at Rathnure, went to trainer Paul Nicholls for £115k.
Donnchadh Doyle got £490k for three horses. Grandads Cottage was an expensive Derby sale purchase last year at €58k, but he fetched £200k, while Vendemere (by Jeremy), went for £120k; both had won a couple of weeks esarlier.
Denis Murphy, The Ballagh, sold On The Bandwagon (by Oscar) to Jonjo O'Neill for £160k; trainer Liam Kenny from Craanford sold Boss Man Fred, a five-year-old by Dubai Destination, for £70k, and James and Ellen Doyle of Baltimore Stables, Coolgarrow, sold their filly, Who's The Boss, for £60k after being beaten by just a head in a mares' maiden at Rathnure.