Double for Denis Murphy at Tinahely

Arra Clonceid (No. 2) Paul Lake up; Bonny Dazzler (blue colours) Joanne Corish; and Forest Breeze (No. 6), the winner with Barry Walsh up taking a fence during the maiden race for six-year-olds and upwards at Fairwood, Tinahely, this afternoon.

By Dan Walsh at Fairwood Park, Tinahely

Denis Murphy was the handler in form at today’s Bray Harriers point-to-point races held at Fairwood Park, Tinahely, where he saddled a double, beginning with the 5/4 fav. Break My Soul by one and a half lengths in the maiden race for four-year-olds with Jack Hendrick in the saddle.

The double came for the master of Ballyboy Stables, The Ballagh, when Lough Derg Spirit came home three and a half lengths to the good in the Open Lightweight Race for novice riders. Lough Der Spirit was ridden by Joey Dunne and ran in the colours of the handlers’ mother, Catherine Murphy, and is likely to run in the Aintree Foxhunters Chase in April.

Barry O’Neill had to pull out all the stops on Red Notice in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings but scored by a neck for Colin Bowe just holding off Joie More for the Jack Hendrick/Denis Murphy stables.

Fortune Dancer won the maiden race for five-year-old mares for Sean Doyle with six lengths to spare. Jamie Scallan was in the saddle and the Gain mare’s final may be next for the Soldier of Fortune mare.

Elusive Mae got “a great ride” from Moira McElligott according to handler Willie Murphy from Ballycurragh Stud, Carlow, in a photo-finish (three quarters of a length and half a length covering the first three home) in the Winners of Two race. Elusive Mae’s next challenge may be the Gain mare’s final.

Local winners are always popular and none more so than Forest Breeze, who justified the favourite’s tag at 5/4), and scored easily by twelve lengths for father and son, John and Barry Walsh, from Ballyday, Gorey, in the maiden race for six-year-olds and upwards.

There was also racing at Lisronagh, Co. Tipperary, where there was mixed fortunes for Wexfordians – three wins for Wexford handlers, but top rider Rob James took a fall and suffered a broken shoulder and will likely miss the rest of the season and some choice rides that were coming his way at the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival.

The maiden race for four-year-olds was a thriller. Lady Balko ridden by Brian Lawless for Matthew Flynn O’Connor, Ballycrystal, Bunclody, got the better of Main Stage owned by the Kenny family from Craanford, Gorey, and partnered by James Kenny. by half a length.

There was another Wexford one-two and another tight finish in the maiden race for four-year-old geldings. Bill Joyce handled by Benny Walsh for his wife Jenny and ridden by Tiernan Power Roche got the verdict by three quarters of a length over Express Surprise for Sean Doyle and rider Finny Maguire.

Either On was a winner for Robert Tector, Coolbawn, Rathnure, in the maiden race for five and six-year-old mares at the Tipperary track. Half a length the verdict and Liam Gilligan the successful rider.

Yesterday (Saturday) Barry O’Neill made the long journey to Farmacaffley for the point-to-point run under the auspices of the Tynan and Armagh Foxhounds and while there were no Wexford trained winners, the champion rider enjoyed a double success.

O’Neill teamed up with Tom Dreaper for an eight lengths victory on Carrigeen Castle in the Confined Hunt Winners race and David Christie gave him the leg up on Winged Leader in the Open Race and they came home eleven lengths to the good.

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