By Redunant Punter
Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford rider Barry O’Neill consolidated his position at the top of the Point-to-Point Riders Championship table by virtue of booting home a well executed double at Sunday’s well supported Killeagh Harriers meet.
This race put O’Neill three clear (23-20) of his nearest rival and defending champion Jamie Codd.
O’Neill opened his account on board the Colin Bowe trained Minella Encore (Ev-2) with the 5 year old progeny of Kings Theatre sporting the colours of well-known Clonmel hotelier, James Nallen.
A faller on his career debut at Borris House with a 4 year old maiden seemingly at his mercy. Well there was no such drama here as he got a dream run up the inner off the home bend and he looked to have taken the measure of his stablemate What Another Year (4-8) when this fellow crashed out at the last under Rob James. His demise gifted Cemister (2-3) and Derek O’Connor the runner up spot some 10l behind the winner.
“He’s a big unit but Barry said he was grand around it.”
“I was worried the track may not suit him,” commented Colin Bowe, “He’s a big unit but Barry said he was grand around it. John bought this fellow as a foal at Tatts from Tim Conroy and sure he has a smashing pace. He will go to Doncaster sales next.”
The O’Neill brace was completed in our concluding contest, the 6 year old and upwards geldings maiden which fourteen went to post. Here, he teamed up with the Sean Burke trained High and Mighty (4-7-5) who duly obliged at the fifth time of asking in points.
O’Neill hit the front before the penultimate obstacle with the son of Mountain High and from here he was holding all the aces, eventually going in by 2l from Lacken Bridge and Rob James.
Maganey, Athy, Co. Kildare handler Sean Byrne was quick to praise Barry O’Neill saying, ‘Ah look, Barry was great on him, that’s his first run in ten months and he doesn’t even know he had a race there. We bred him ourselves and we think he’s a right one. Barry said he’s good enough to go for a bumper so we will have to look at that route now. It’s our first time being here and we have had a great day. The road home won’t be so long now.”
Fresh from his success in the Conygham Cup twenty four hours earlier at Punchestown, Derek O’Connor was also amongst the winners at Killeagh as he steered home the Pat Doyle trained, Sydney Paget (4-6-Ev-4-5) to a comprehensive 4l victory in the open lightweight contest.
From the outset, only three horses mattered in this with both Aughnacurraveel and Buckers Bridge putting pace to the race. Whilst the eventual winner sat 3 to 4l off them in third.
The status quo remained for most of the contest and it was not until O’Connor made the decisive move up the inner before the second last, a manoeuvre that quickly put the race to bed, with the 10 year old progeny of Flemensfirth going onto score by 4l from Aughnacurraveel and Sheila Ahern with Buckers Bridge and John Barry a similar gap back in third.
“Didn’t we get a puncture by the Jack Lynch Tunnel and only for Pat Colville, we’d still be there.”
“We nearly didn’t get here,” commented Holycross trainer Pat Doyle, “Didn’t we get a puncture by the Jack Lynch Tunnel and only for Pat Colville, we’d still be there. Anyway he won, sure what can I say, he will go to Bellharbour next and long term we will look at the Joseph O’Reilly for him.”
Before dashing off to ride in Fairyhouse, Jamie Codd had time to steer home our opening winner, Auntie Mary (3-5-4) who sluiced up by 2 ½ l in the 5 year old mares maiden. Codd produced the daughter of Scorpion with impeccable timing to hit the front just before the wings of the last and once safely over this, she duly went onto score easily by 2 ½ l from Aunt Eva (2-3) and Barry O’Neill.
There were some great scenes in the winners enclosure after this as the winner is trained locally by Colin Motherway and he was swamped by well wishers. Catching a quick word with him he said, “It’s great to win at home and this is my first time winner as a trainer that I didn’t ride myself. Look, she’s a grand big mare with scope. I’m delighted for her and her owners, the Dillon family from North Cork. They are great family friends so it’s all good.”
James Hannon made a welcome return to the plate on Sunday after a little injury. But he showed no ill effects as he rode an ice cool race on board the Robert Maloney trained Michealamaystar (7/4-9/4) who dotted up by 8l in the mares winners of two.
Hannon produced the 8yr old from well off the pace, to lead over the second last and from here it was game, set and match for Michealamaystar as she pulled right away to score by 8l from Rock Solid (5-10) Neil Gault.
Owned and trained by Robert Maloney, “She will continue to tip away in points”, commented an elated owner/trainer.
Killeagh Sunday, January 15th 2017 will forever be etched in the memory of 18 year old James Kenny, from Craanford, Co Wexford as he rode his very forst winner here Our Henrietta (3-4-3) who went in by 3l in the 6 year old and upwards mares maiden for novice riders.
Always up with the pace, the daughter of Winged Love was given the hurry up after the third last and from here she repelled all challengers eventually going on to score by 3l from Kings Dolly (4-6) and Luke Murphy.
The winner is trained by James Kenny’s father Liam at his Craanford base and is one of fifteen that he has in, speaking to him of this winner he said “That’s super I’m delighted for James as that’s his first winner and to be fair to him he works hard at home, the mare is honest and tough and will go for a winners of one next.”
ONE TO FOLLOW:
Pat Mac (Michael Goff)
This progeny of Stowaway made his debut in the concluding 6 year old and upwards maiden and to be fair “the Word” was good for him. He raced prominently throughout but from three out was well beaten eventually pulling up, however I think on a tight sharp track that he shaped well and with nominal improvement, a maiden looks well within his grasp.
Good to see both Ciaran Fennessy and Brian Lenihan at Killeagh on Sunday – both are recovering from injury and both are on crutches, but we wish them well and hopefully it won’t be long before they are back in action.
On Sunday last we saw the enhanced prize money on offer to owners with the combined total being €7,000. Out of this no less than €3,700 was won by Wexford riders either finishing first or second.
It’s hard to back a winner, no doubt, but take the form figures of three of the six winners on Sunday last and backing a winner would look as realistic as Kilkenny winning a senior All-Ireland football title, for example, Auntie Mary – FRF, Minella Encore – F, Our Henrietta – PCFU.
And the bookmakers tell you they can’t win a bob!!
On Sunday last I have to hold my grubby paws up and admit I did not get to Aghabullogue, despite my best efforts to convince myself, my doctor and anyone who would listen that “The flu” had gone and I was fine. Well my protestations fell on very deaf eats and I had to give in and stay at home with my antibiotics, steroids and nebuliser.
Anyway, I arranged with someone to do a report on Aghabullogue for me, however very late Wednesday night he text to say that yes, he did report but forgot to send it, so hence no musings from Aghabullogue on Thursday last, and for that I apologise; as for the flu it’s gone.
5 year old mares maiden
1. Auntie Mary, JJ Codd. 2. Aunt Eva, B O’Neill. 3. Merchent Lass, JJ King. Dist.: 21/2l 3l 1/2l (12 ran) (Colin Motherway).
5 year old geld maiden
1. Minella Encore, B O’Neill. 2. Cemister, D O’Connor. 3. Can You Ring Me Back, R Harding. 4. Cowboy Des Long, Pa King. Dist.: 10l 1l 5l (13 ran) (Colin Bowe).
Winners of two (Mares)
1. Michealamaystar, JJ Hannon. 2. Rock Solid, N Gault (11-10). 3. Special Princess, E O’Brien. 4. Tochy, EP Keatinh (11-10). Dist.: 8 1/2l 8l (8 ran) (Robert Moloney).
6 year old and up mares maiden (nov. riders)
1. Our Henrietta, JW Kenny. 2. Kings Dolly, L Murphy. 3. Honest To Goodness, D Allen. 4. Vivalino, L O’Carroll. Dist.: 3l 15l 6l (10 ran) (Liam Kenny).
1. Sydney Paget, D O’Connor. 2. Aughnacurraveen, Ms S Aherne (11-10). 3. Buckers Bridge, JC Barry. 4. Ad Idem, W McMahon (11-10). Dist.: 4l 4l 20l (10 ran) (Pat Doyle).
6 year old and up geld maiden
1. High And Mighty, B O’Neill. 2. Lacken Bridge, R James. 3. Eddies Miracle, EP Keating (11-10). 4. Esthers Present, JC Barry. Dist.: 2l 10l 12l (14 ran) (Sean Byrne).