By Dan Walsh
Three point-to-point race meetings across the country today (Sunday) with Wexford success at all of them and a double for rider Rob James at Punchestown.
James teamed up with Colin Bowe for a four and a half lengths victory with newcomer Undeniable Alibi in the maiden race for four-year-olds and was also aboard the Gordon Elliott trained Happy Victory who did the business by three and a half lengths in the Farmers Hunt Race.
First timer The Midwife was impressive at the Kildare venue for Miriam and John Murphy, owner and handler respectively, Corecannon House, Inch, near Gorey, and confidently ridden by their son, Luke Murphy. The winning margin was three lengths.
Ginger Jonny was a three lengths winner for Caitriona and Michael Goff, Clondaw, Ferns, in the five-year-old geldings maiden race at Kilfeacle, Co. Tipperary. The winning rider was Dan Nevin from Gowran, Co. Kilkenny.
Banks specialist Vital Island came out best in a photo-finish (a head and a short head separating the first three home) for owner/handler Richard O’Keeffe, Newtown, Taghmon, in the Banks Race at Knockanard, Fermoy, Co. Cork. Veteran rider Benny Walsh, Cleariestown, was in the saddle.
Vital Island is an 11 years old bay gelding who reserves his best for the ‘banks’ races. He won last year’s Ladies Cup at Punchestown and has won four times over the Lingstown banks where he goes next at the Kilinick Harriers fixture on March 12th.
There was also success for Jonathan Fogarty, Gaynestown, Cleariestown, with Denemethy, ridden by Eoin O’Brien, by four lengths in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings. This was the 10th winner of the handler’s career.
Next Sunday’s point-to-point races is The Island Hunt fixture at Ballycrystal, Kiltealy. First race is off at 2pm.