By Dan Walsh
The 2021-2022 point-to-point season ended today at Tralee and Ballindaggin rider Barry O’Neill claimed his sixth national point-to-point riders championship in sensational style with two winners at Stratford on Friday, and two more yesterday (Saturday) at Drumahane, and one today at Tralee that brought his seasonal total to 61 winners.
On Friday O’Neill crossed the pond to Stratford racecourse where he rode two winners for David Christie, the Fermanagh handler that has shared some many successes together over several seasons.
O’Neill was aboard Ask D’Man who had three-quarters of a length to spare in the Champion Novice Hunter’s Chase and enjoyed a four lengths victory on Vaucelet in the Stratford Foxhunters Champion Hunter’s Chase.
O’Neill brought his seasonal tally to 60 with a double at Drumahane yesterday (Saturday). It was a Colin Bowe 1-2 in the maiden race for four-year-old mares with Shiroccosmagicgem (Barry O’Neill) beating Barrons Land (Rob James) by two and a half lengths. Bowe, who takes the national handler’s championship title for the 10th time hit the 45-winner mark.
O’Neill completed his double aboard Paul Nolan’s Shawshank by ten lengths in the Open Race.
Today at Tralee, O’Neill teamed up with Colin Bowe to win the second division of the maiden race for five year old geldings by one and a half lengths on Montmarte Abbey while division one of the same race went to Denis Murphy, The Ballagh, who saddled Fortuitus Find ridden by Harley Dunne. The verdict was 12 lengths.
Michael Goff, who trains at Clondaw, Ferns, saddled three winners over the weekend to experience his best seasonal total of 10 victories, surpassing his previous best seasons of nine winners in 2018-2019 and 2016-2017.
At Dromahane and running in the colours of Caitriona Goff, Kaituna River (Mikey Sweeney) had six lengths to spare in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings and Finding Freedom (Dan Nevin) got the winning verdict by a neck in the maiden race for four-year-old geldings.
On Sunday at Tralee, the Goff stables saddled newcomer Some Scope to score by four and a half lengths in the maiden race for four-year-olds under rider Mikey Sweeney.