By Dan Walsh at Tinahely
A treble for Rob James and doubles for Barry O’Neill and Colin Bowe were the highlights from today’s (Sunday) Shillelagh & District Hunt point-to-point races held in summer conditions before a good attendance at Fairwood, Tinahely.
James got off to a winning afternoon in the maiden race for five-year-old mares bringing home Diana Prince by four lengths for Milestone Bloodstock Ltd and Colin Bowe. Bowe’s other runner in the race Sagecraft parted company with Barry O’Neill at the first obstacle.
The Kiltealy rider teamed up with Donnchadh Doyle to win the maiden race for five-year-old geldings in a photo-finish on Kayf Baha who got up by a head beating Hardlines (Jack Hendrick) with Patient Partner (Barry O’Neill) half a length behind in third place.
Rob James completed a treble on Honour The Master, who is bound for the sales ring and a first handler winner for former jump jockey Roger Loughran who trains on the Kildangan Road near The Curragh. The winning margin was four lengths.
Barry O’Neill won the opening maiden race for four-year-olds on Jomig Des Bois by one and a half lengths to give Colin Bowe a double on the day.
O’Neill added a second winner and the 13th of the season on Mighty Stowaway, trained by Gordon Elliott, who led the field all the way and won by ten lengths.
The Winners of One race was won by Nothinbuttime, owned, trained and ridden by Jordan Hart from Baltinglass. It was the second success for horse and rider with the first recorded last November at Damma House point-to-point. The verdict was close – a neck – with Croi Corcra (Barry O’Neill) the runner-up.
Tributes were paid to long time track announcer Sean Rafferty who is retiring. Sean’s familiar tone will be missed from the microphone and he is succeeded by Aaron O’Hara who got in some practice today by paying tribute and saying thanks to Sean for his 50 years’ contribution to the success and welfare of Shillelagh & District Hunt.
There was a second point-to-point fixture today at Umma House in south Westmeath and success for two Wexford riders. Aaron Sinnott from Enniscorthy had his first ride for Monageer handler Michael Goff and it had a victory outcome with first timer Valencia Borget scoring by twelve lengths and is now for sale. It was Sinnott’s first win of the season and his eighth career success.
Another rider getting off the new season mark was Pearse Rogan from Caim, last seasons under 21 champion, who won the maiden race for five and six year old geldings’ on Donnchadh Doyle’s Silver Flyer by four lengths. A double over two cards for the Ballindaggin hander who was at Tinahely on the day.