O'Neill treble Tinahely highlight
Barry O'Neill (Ballindaggin), runner-up in last year's riders' championship, was the star turn at the Shillelagh Hunt fixture at Fairwood, Tinahely, on Sunday, scoring a hat-trick in the last three races.
The attendance was quite good considering the counter-attraction of Senior football finals in both Wicklow and Wexford, and they enjoyed some exciting racing in good conditions, though the fields were small enough apart from the opening two maidens, with the last four races attracting just 23 runners.
O'Neill opened his account in the open race on Need to Know (Definite Article-Desperado Queen), for John Paul and Marie Brennan from Monasootha, Camolin.
The horse was second in this last year and won it in 2014.
Eddie Keating (Gusserane) was second on Noel Dooly's Jansboy with veteran Theroadtocroker third for Jimmy O'Rourke (Ballycogley) and trainer Denis Murphy (The Ballagh).
O'Neill scored in the five-year-old mares' maiden for Colin Bowe on Spring Pools (Subtle Power-Fey Macha), with Rob James second on Moneystown for the Brennans.
He completed his treble in the older geldings' maiden on Golander for Tom Nagle who made the long trip from Cork pay off. Mark Scallan (Cleariestown) was second on Wexford Bridge for John Martin Walsh (Duncormick).
Champion Jamie Codd had his winner in the day's first, the Goffs four-year-old maiden, on Manitowoc County (Darsi-Murphy's Appeal), giving Denis Paul Murphy and Maria Byrne their first of the season.
Harley Dunne (The Ballagh) was second on Not a Role Model for James Doyle (Monageer).
The fall of Derek O'Connor and favourite Jerrysback made the task a bit easier.
Codd was second for Murphy on Don't Act Up in the five-year-old geldings' maiden, behind Andy Slattery's Bellamy.
In the mares' winner of one, Eddie Keating was second on Touchy, which had won here last January, for P.J. O'Gorman from Bunclody.
Racing next weekend is at Loughanmore, Co. Antrim, on Saturday, and at the Galway Blazers meeting at Loughrea on Sunday.