By Dan Walsh
The family combination of John and James Walsh, had a wonderful victory at Wexford today when High Stakes won his fifth race from six starts, and his first on the racecourse, at the special point-to-point flat race card, one of a small number such fixtures introduced by the HRI to facilitate the void caused by Covid-19 and the temporary suspension of point-to-points.
A winner of four point-to-points from five starts since last September, High Stakes (10/11 fav.) was a most impressive winner of the Killinick INH Flat Race. Ridden by James Walsh, son of the owner and trainer John, the seven-year-old bay led and disputed in the early stages and had his 10 rivals off the bridle from the three furlong marker and he soon powered clear in the straight, going on to register an easy 18 length win.
It was a first track success for John Walsh, who has six or seven in training at Prebin, Tinahely. “He is a fair bit of a horse. He is for sale, but we will see what happens. He could go for another bumper now.”
Action got under way with the Lingstown race for colts and geldings and the winner came from the Cappoquin stables of Shane O’Brien in the form of Henry Box Brown (17/2) ridden by Darragh Allen from Kilworth.
All races were named after Wexford point-to-point tracks and the Monksgrange race for colts and geldings over two miles and two furlongs was popular with entries and was run in two divisions.
Michael Kennedy from Inishannon, Co. Cork, saddled Hurlerontheditch (11/1) to win division one with Michael O’Sullivan from Mallow up, holding off the Barry O’Neill/Colin Bowe partnership with Chrissies Diamond one and three-quarter lengths behind.
Harley Dunne from Blackwater was involved in an unusual outcome in division two. He trained the winner, Pull Again Green (8/1) ridden by Shane Fitzgerald and finished runner up on Gris Gris Top for Carlow trainer Aidan Fitzgerald (no relation to rider Shane). The winning verdict was one and a quarter lengths.
Sean Doyle sent out first timer Love Envoi (8/1) in the Ballinaboola mares race which resulted in a success for Tomhaggard rider Jamie Scallan. The runner-up was Miss Tempo from the in-form Waterford stable of Henry de Bromhead. What a championship week he has enjoyed!
The Island race for mares was also divided and run over two and a half miles. The Jenny and Benny Walsh partnership from Tomhaggard were in winning form in the first division. Crossgales Ophelia (6/1) obliged with veteran Benny in the saddle by three and a half lengths. Meath trainer Gavin Cromwell, fresh from a double success at Cheltenham, supplied the favourite, Eyre Square, (5/4 fav.) to gain an easy seven and a half lengths victory in division two. This was a third victory for promising young rider Joey Dunne, (18), from Dunboyne.
It was a fine afternoon, ground conditions were described as “soft, yielding in places, and sadly no spectators due to Covid-19 protocols. Hope you enjoy the highlights courtesy of Horse Racing Ireland. The Tote aggregate was €109,968 compared with €103,118 last year.