By Dan Walsh
Champion rider Barry O’Neill is setting a scorching pace in a bid to retaining his championship title and a double at Maralin, Co. Down, today brings him to the 12-winner mark, eight ahead of his nearest rival James Walsh.
O’Neill’s first success of the day came in the maiden race for five year old geldings on newcomer He’s Rockin for Charlie and Yvonne Latta and trained by their son, Andrew, Ballinakill, Enniscorthy, who was having his first runner of the season. Six lengths were the winning verdict, and he is for the sales.
O’Neill joined forces with champion handler Colin Bowe to notch his second victory aboard Navy Girl, a winner on the first day of the season at Ballingarry last month, for owner Rebecca Surman who had five lengths to spare.
The maiden race for four-year olds finished with Wexford trained runners in the first two places. Rob James took Dreams of Home along in the lead throughout the trip and stayed on to fill the number one frame for the Monbeg Syndicate, and a fifth success of the season for Donnchadh Doyle, Ballindaggin. Runner-up was Bill Baxter from Denis Murphy’s Ballyboy Stables, The Ballagh, partnered by Jamie Codd.