By Dan Walsh at Ballycrystal
The going was testing at the Ballinagore Harriers point-to-point races held at Ballycrystal this afternoon, but local stables fared well and there was a good-sized attendance in light rain conditions.
First up was the maiden race for five-year-old mares and “a head” separated Von Hallers for the Monbeg Farm Racing Syndicate and handler Cormac Doyle with Jack Hendrick in the saddle and the Denis Murphy handled Caught A Vibe ridden by Simon Cavanagh after a good gallop in soft conditions.
It was the first runner and first victory of the year for Cormac Doyle, who has 40 horses riding out, and was enjoying his 40th career victory as a handler, and Von Hollers will be heading for the sales ring.
Rob James mount Orinoco Flow for the Gordon Elliott stable fell three from the finish in the first race, but the combination was compensated in the second race – the maiden race for five-year-old geldings – by the dozen lengths success of Wingmen. Elliott’s representative Simon McGonigle said afterwards that Wingmen will now go to the sales.
Rob James, who lives close to the Kiltealy track, had a second success on the day aboard Great Pepper for handler Donnchadh Doyle in the concluding maiden race for five-year-olds and upwards confined. Doyle said afterwards that the plan is to go for a ‘winners’ race in a couple of weeks’ time. James is now on the 20-winner mark for the current season.
The Winners of Two race only attracted four runners, but we saw an impressive winner in Gray Rock for the Kenny family from Craanford; owner, Noreen, handler Liam, and rider James. It was a close finish – only three quarters of a length in it – with Denis Murphy’s Garcon Dargent and Jack Hendrick getting closest in the runner-up frame.
William Murphy from Ballycurragh Stud, just across the Wexford-Carlow border at Rathoe, enjoyed a double success. First up was Miss Drussell ridden by Pa King in the maiden race for six-year-olds and upwards mares by an easy twenty lengths.
Half an hour later and the aptly named Pour Me A Double gave Murphy the double with his wife, Moira McElligott in the saddle and bringing her within one winner of losing her riding allowance. A veterinary surgeon who represented Ireland in the European Boxing Championships McElligott is currently on the 20-career winner mark. This was the maiden race for six-year-olds and upwards geldings and the verdict was two and a half lengths.
In other point-to-point news popular rider Harley Dunne will be out of action for a number of weeks due to a shoulder injury sustained in a fall at Turtulla, Clonmel, on Sunday week.