By Dan Walsh at Bettyville Park
A good standard of racing, but no local winners, was the order at the first race meeting of 2022 held at Bettyville Park, Wexford, today before a good size crowd in Spring sunshine.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins saddled a double with Arctic Warrior (5/2) and Egality Mens (8/15 fav) and had two ‘seconds’, the most interesting being Dancing City in the bumper beaten half a length by Gordon Elliott’s Three Card Brag, a bay gelding bred in Wexford by Roland Rothwell. It was a frantic race up the straight and both contestants got ‘close together’ near the finish, a lengthy enquiry, ensued, by the result stood.
As stated, no Wexford winners but Paul Nolan’s Saga Aravis running in the colours of the Buzzer Racing Syndicate was runner-up to Donnrua Dream (7/2) from Gavin Cromwell’s stables in Meath. A bit of ‘a political interest here,’ Cllr Jacker Owens from Enniscorthy is part of the Buzzer Racing Syndicate and Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill is part of the Green Grass Syndicate associated with the winner.
The day’s Tote aggregate was up on last year – €124,877 (today) compared with €96,224 when run on St. Patrick’s Day in 2021 behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 guidelines.
The next races at Bettyville Park is on Friday, April 1st.
There were three point-to-points around the country today and Wexford winners emerged at each meeting. Champion rider Barry O’Neill took the short distance to Borris House for the Carlow Farmers’ fixture and clocked up two victories.
O’Neill got off the mark in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings with Demandrivingduvet for Mary Ellen Doyle’s Coolgarrow Stables, near Enniscorthy by eleven lengths and completed a double in the five-year-old plus adjacent race on Moonlight Symphony for local handler Aidan Fitzgerald.
Denis Murphy enjoyed a training double. At Borris House The Ballyboy Stables handler saddled Peaky Boy to win the maiden race for four-year-olds under Simon Cavanagh. Five lengths the verdict. Meanwhile, at the West Waterford races, Murphy saddled Givehimthehonour and with Luke Murphy up, got home by three-quarters of a length. Both were newcomers. Yesterday, the Murphy’s shared a winner at Tyrella so a fine weekend for Denis (three winners) and Luke (two winners),
Also at the Waterford track, Rob James scored on Stellar Story for Donnchadh Doyle by one and a half lengths in the maiden race for five-and-six- year-old geldings.
And there was a fairytale victory in the Open Race where A Rated won by a neck making a first ride a winning one for Josh Berry, (17), a 5th year student at St. Peter’s College, Wexford, handled by his father Johnny Berry at Lingstown, Tomhaggard.
At Ballycahane, Limerick, Ballymitty handler and former amateur rider Garrett Murphy saddled his first winner when Cassie Parle’s newcomer Affordable Fury won by two lengths in the maiden race for four-year-old geldings. The successful rider was Shane O’Rourke, Foulksmills.