Indian summer strikes at Monksgrange races

Dan Walsh

The Bree Hunt point-to-point races went off splendidly in Indian summer conditions at Monksgrange, Rathnure, this afternoon, two races divided to extend into an eight-race card, but the spoils were evenly shared with no more than one victory each. The ground was fast and produced some excellent racing.

Paloma Dove made all to win the mares’ four-year-old maiden race by six lengths giving Harley Dunne his first win from two runs in his new role as handler training from a new base at Clonroche. Dunne is a former novice champion rider from 2013 and this was his 80th career point-to-point success.

BARRY O’NEILL (rider) COLIN BOWE (handler) and SINEAD COWMAN (groom) with VICTORIAS PEAK following victory at Monksgrange races this afternoon

The maiden race for four-year-old geldings was divided – 10 in each division. Matthew Flynn O’Connor who trains locally at Ballycrystal won the first division with Comes Recommended who came home two lengths to the good under Wicklow rider Brian Lawless. “He travelled and jumped well all the way. He will go to the sales,” said his happy handler afterwards.

Division two was a spectacular affair with four of the field coming down over the last two fences and only two finishers with half a length separating the survivors. Benny Walsh held a lead of about 10 lengths going into the last on Musta Lovea Lovea, running in the colours of his wife, Jenny, when the partnership crashed out leaving Rob James on Crystal Glory and Steven Connor on Gortmillish to fight out the finish. Half a length favoured Crystal Glory on the line to raise a flag for the Monbeg Syndicate and the Donnchadh Doyle stable.

Barry O’Neill had his sixth win of the new season for Colin Bowe when Victorias Park scored by ten lengths for the Milestone Bloodstock Ltd. “Hopefully, we’ll find a new home for her,” quipped Bowe who will be aiming for the sales ring with the daughter of Fame and Glory.

The biggest field of the day – 25 – was in the five-year-old geldings maiden race run in two divisions and both winners were from visiting stables. Jony Max, bred by John and Miriam Murphy, Inch, Gorey, travelled from the Thurles stables of Pat Doyle to win division one by four lengths in the hands of Pa King; division two went to Dare To Begin, handled by Ellmarie Holden, Ballyhale, Kilkenny, and ridden by veteran rider Derek O’Connor. “He worked well at home. Great to get him over line. He is for the sales now,” said Ms Holden.

PALOMA DOVE is foot perfect over the last jump to give HARLEY DUNNE his 80th win as a rider and his first as a handler at Monksgrange races

The maiden race for six-year olds and upwards was an opportunity for novice riders to perform and the winner was Corach Rambler by two and a half lengths for handler John Martin Walsh from Duncormick and The Forge Syndicate. The winning rider was Sean Staples, also from Duncormick, having his second victory of the season and four in total.

The final race of the day was the Winners of One and Jordan Gainford, Caim, successful at Necarne yesterday, added another winner when bringing home The Forge Hill by six lengths for the Monbeg Partnership and Sean Doyle, Ballindaggin, beating Colin Bowe’s Sleepsaurus with Barry O’Neill up.

Seventy-three runners lined up for the eight races.  

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