By Dan Walsh
Three point-to-point fixtures went to post yesterday (Friday) where the Fairyhouse meeting in Meath was a marathon 10-race card and Wexford stables won nine of them, including a treble for champion rider Barry O’Neill.
O’Neill and Colin Bowe got off to a winning start with Qualimite coming home 30 lengths clear in the first division of the four-year-old mare’s maiden race. Harley Dunne took a fall in that race and stood himself down for division two where he saddled Jamsmine Bliss who jumped a clear round and scored a one and a half lengths success. It was a spare winning rider for Tiernan Power Roche.
O’Neill and Bowe scored a double when Practice Run galloped all over his rivals in the first division of the four-year-old geldings’ maiden race. One and a half lengths the verdict. Division Two went the way of Shirley Berry’s Everyonesacritic, handled by Johnny Berry at Lingstown, and confidently ridden by Ross Berry. Close one, only half a length in it, but that will do!
Barry O’Neill achieved a double on the day aboard Lough Owel for Gordon Elliott in the first division of the maiden race for five-year-old geldings. Six lengths the distance.
Bertie Finn from Oulart joined forces with David Christie in the Open Race confined to novice riders and they shared a sweet four lengths victory with Bold Enough.
Paul Pierce from Blackhall Stables, Killurin, saddled a double success. First up was Ingenie ridden by Eoin Staples who had two and a half lengths to spare at the end of the maiden race for five-year-olds plus and then won the first division of the five-year-old plus unplaced maiden race with Dream Boy, a second winner for Ferns rider James Murray and two lengths the winning distance.
Division two of this contest ended in a steward’s enquiry. Lightkeeper (Barry O’Neill) for Gordon Elliott came home first by seven lengths, but following the enquiry the verdict was given to Stylish Recruit owned by James Mernagh, Davidstown, handled by Susan O’Gorman at Adamstown and ridden by Barry Stone.
There was also a point-to-point at Tralee where rider Jack Hendrick enjoyed a double success. Hendrick partnered Histornic to a two and a half lengths success in the maiden race for four-year-olds for owner/handler Denis Murphy of The Ballagh Stables and later was given the leg up on Lejune Bresil by John ‘Shark’ Hanlon in the maiden race for six-year-olds plus that concluded with a ten lengths victory. This brings the Mayglass rider, who has 17 winners for the season and is in big demand by yards, across the half-century mark; 51 career wins following today’s double.
There was a family success in the maiden race for five-year-old geldings’ race where Cuchullan’s Son got home by half a length for Pat O’Rourke, Clonard, Wexford, and partnered by his son James.
Brilliant weekend for Wexford stables and riders, but the biggest disappointment is that Sunday’s fixture due to be run at Monksgrange under the auspices of the Bree Hunt Club was called off earlier this week. This decision would be a factor in the huge fields and divides at Fairyhouse and Tralee on Friday, but the home teams keep on winning…