By Dan Walsh
Four winners for Barry O’Neill today at Fairwood, Tinahely, and two yesterday in Derry, gave the champion rider half a dozen victories for the weekend, while Jamie Codd celebrates his first winner of the season with a treble at Westmeath this afternoon, to make the point-to-point headlines.
The opening race for four-year-old maidens at Fairwood was won by Routine Excellence for Colin Bowe and Barry O’Neill. One and a half lengths were the verdict. Half an hour later and the double was up for the champions when Milans Edge ran out the five lengths winner of the maiden race for five-year-old mares.
Gordon Elliott, who sent out four winners across the different tracks, dispatched Mighty Stowaway from his Meath stables, Barry O’Neill got the leg up, and the runaway combination won the Open Race by ‘a distance’.
But O’Neill and Bowe added another victory before departure for Kiltealy as Heuston Texas, twice runner-up, got to the front and stayed there in style to take the maiden race for ‘older’ geldings.
Jamie Codd and Denis Murphy had their first victory of the season with Get A Tonic in the maiden race for four-year-old mares. Donnchadh Doyle’s Bonbon Balko (Rob James) was runner-up, three and a half lengths behind the winner and Michael Goff’s Ask Blossomfort (Shane Fitzgerald) was third to give a 1,2,3, to Wexford raiders at Moate, Co. Westmeath, this afternoon.
Codd teamed up with Gordon Elliott to win division one of the maiden geldings race for four year olds with Percy Warner, by four lengths, and ended up with a treble when bringing home Heather Rocco for Galway handler John Nellan by one length in the five and six year old maiden geldings race.
And also at the Westmeath track, Rob James, Killanne, saddled his first winner as a handler in My Bad Lucy for the Matchmaker Syndicate, by eight lengths with Brian Lawless up, in the first division of the four year old geldings maiden race.
No Wexford trained winners at Portrush, Co. Derry, yesterday (Saturday) although Barry O’Neill scored twice for the owner/handler team of John Hegarty and David Christie from Fermanagh. Success came in the Open Race on Winged Leader, who was winning his fifth race in succession, by six lengths, and Ask D’Man completed the double in the race for ‘older maidens’.
Barry O’Neill is already 16 wins clear of his nearest rival in the riders’ championship with a 41% strike rate this season.