By Dan Walsh at Knockmullen House, New Ross
There were extraordinary scenes at today’s point-to-point races at Knockmullen House, New Ross, where two dead-heats were recorded and featured the same rider – Brian Dunleavy from Cork. The turf history books will be under heavy scrutiny for a few days as historians and statisticians search to find if anything like this ever happened in the history of horse racing.
Dead-heats are rare, although there was one at Loughbrickland, Co. Down yesterday involving Barry O’Neill and Rob James, and they happen when the finish is so close that the judge cannot separate the horses, even with the aid of photography!
First race was the Cooney Furlong maiden race for four-year-old mares where Dontyawantme, owned and handled by Denis Murphy, Ballyboy Stables, The Ballagh, ridden by Luke Murphy, Inch, Gorey; shared first prize with Royale Dance from the Baltimore Stables, handled by Ellen Doyle at Coolgarrow, Enniscorthy, and ridden by Brian Dunleavy.
Amazingly Dunleavy was involved in the second dead-heat of the day at the finish of the maiden race for five-year-old geldings. He was aboard Irish Blaze, owned and handled by Robert McCabe, Corbally, Enniscorthy. He shared the winner’s prize with Twosarewild, bred and owned by Jimmy Devereux, Rostoonstown Stud, Broadway, and handled by his son, Vincent. Having their first runner of the season.
The winning rider was Conor Moore, Kilmore Quay, who notched up a double on the day and gained his first success of the season. He was aboard Benefits Jeu, owned by his father, Denis Moore, and handled by Tom Byrne, and had eight lengths to spare at the finish of the maiden race for six-year-olds and upwards.
The maiden race for four-year-old geldings was won by Bearwithmenow, handled on the Kilkenny side of the close-by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge by Garrett Power and career winner number twenty for Mayglass rider Jack Hendrick. The winning distance was two lengths.
Midway to Getaway was a winner for the Redbridge Stables of Michael Murphy at Duncormick in the five-year-old and upwards maiden race for mares. One and a half lengths were the verdict and Dan Nevin was the successful rider. The Winner of Two race went to Rose of Coolbally handled by William Murphy at Rathoe, Co. Carlow, and ridden by Moira McElliogett. One and a half lengths the winning margin.
Conditions were pleasant and a fog that appeared all around was courteous during racing and did not invade visibility to any significant degree and much to the delight of Cian Cassidy who made an impressive debut in the commentary box on the day of the two ‘dead-heats.’ and only three winning riders!
The fixture was well organised and conducted smoothly by Wexford Hunt. Pleasant conditions and a good-sized attendance.
Racing also took place today at Quakerstown, Co. Clare, where the team of Monbeg Syndicate, Donnchadh Doyle and Rob James managed a brace of winners and were narrowly beaten in a determined search for a treble.
Saint Davy won by eight lengths in the maiden race for four-year-olds, Aubis Walk won by a similar margin in the mares’ maiden race for five-year-olds, and Jimmy Chau Pecos AA was beaten a length into second place in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings. Good weekend for Rob James with a double on Saturday and Sunday and he is now on the 13- mark for the season, four behind the champion and current leader Barry O’Neill.