Bowe/O’Neill double at sunny Monksgrange

By Dan Walsh

The big talking point at today’s Bree Hunt point-to-point at Monksgrange was the weather – warm and sunny at 17 degrees mid-afternoon – and it was the local team of champions Barry O’Neill and Colin Bowe who enjoyed a double success that made the headlines on the track.

The Kiltealy duo scored with Regarde by 12 lengths in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings that got the ball rolling. “He was unlucky the last day at Ballycahane when beaten into second place. He is improving with every run. We’ll see about the future. He may go to the sales or a Winner of One, we’ll see,” said Colin Bowe afterwards.

Dime Store Cowgirl added to the O’Neill-Bowe success story in the 14-runner maiden race for mares aged five years old or over and winning by a length and a half from Some Woman (Donnchadh Doyle/Rob James) who was runner-up in her third race in succession. Colin Bowe said; Dime Store Cowgirl will be given a break now. Her future is on the track.”

Harley Dunne, who trains at Clonroche, was owner, handler and rider of pillar to post winner of the maiden race for four-year-olds, Mel Monroe, who still had a 10 lengths advantage at the finish. After the race Dunne headed for Cork races where he finished runner-up, beaten three lengths, on Blizzard of Oz in the bumper.

Another local rider and handler, Rob James, brought Classic Anthem home alone and the only finisher in the maiden race for four-year-old geldings.

Owner/breeder Laurence O’Brien, Oylegate, receives the Cooney Furlong Trophy from Marguerite Furlong following Joe’s Turn success in the Winner of Two race at Monksgrange today. Also in the photo is winning rider Barry Stone.

The Winner of Two Race for novice riders and the coveted Cooney Furlong Trophy was won by Joe’s Turn, owned and bred by Laurence O’Brien, Tincoon, Oylegate, who recalled his victory in Cork back in January. Won by two lengths today with Cleariestown rider Barry Stone in the saddle and is trained at Ballybawn, Screen, by Richie Rath.

The maiden race for six-year-old plus geldings was the only prize to stray outside Co. Wexford when handler and rider, ex-jockey Sonny Carey saddled his first point-to-point winner with Niall Bashford in the saddle, both from Naas, and winning with four lengths to spare.

There was a large attendance and spotted amongst the crowds were Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell. A second 2022 fixture is planned for Monksgrange on Sunday, April 24th.

There was also point-to-point racing at Loughrea, Co. Galway, today (Sunday) where Duncormick rider Sean Staples brought his seasonal total to four and career total to 12 with a double for Wexford stables.

Staples was aboard newcomer Grey Opportunity for Andrew and Paul Pierce, Blackhall, Killurin,in the mares’ maiden race for five year olds plus and they got the nod in a short-head finish.

Half an hour later and Staples recorded a double in another tight finish, only half-a-length in it this time on board The Forge Hill for Sean Doyle in the Mares Open Race. The trip west was certainly worthwhile.   

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