Four for O’Neill in a flying start POINT-TO-POINT
THE WEXFORD contingent made a flying start to the new point-to-point season at Toomebridge, Co. Antrim, on Saturday, and at Castletowngeoghegan in Westmeath on Sunday, with champion rider Barry O’Neill getting four winners and champion trainer, Colin Bowe, scoring three.
The Wexford connections dominated the opening three races up north on Saturday.
First blood went to Rob James on the Donnchadh Doyle-trained Robin Des Sivola at the fourth attempt in the four-year-old mares’ maiden, at the expense of favourite, Quivvy Lough for the Bowe/O’Neill pairing, with Honest Opinion in third under Tiernan Power-Roche (Tomhaggard) for Ashleigh and Michael Murphy (Duncormick).
O’Neill and Bowe got their season going in the four-year-old geldings’ maiden, winning out in a great finish on Golden Nomad, a son of Gold Well.
Cormac, the youngest of the three training Doyle brothers, and Rob James got compensation in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden, with Donatello Mail winning by six lengths for the Monbeg Farm Racing Partnership, giving James a double on the day.
O’Neill was the star of day two in Westmeath, scoring a riding treble, two for Bowe and one for Paul Nolan, with Wexford horses filling many of the minor places also.
He took the four-year-old maiden with a Bowe debutant, Pennyforapound (out of Winged Love), from Jamie Codd on Denis Murphy’s Glengar, and Bowe also took third with Eglantino Kauto under Rob James.
O’Neill and Bowe doubled up with an easy win at the third attempt on Lively Beat (by Beat Hollow) in the five- and six-year-old mares’ maiden, with Shane O’Rourke second on Rair Owl Timz.
O’Neill also won the geldings’ race with Paul Nolan’s Shawshank (by Presenting) by one and a half lengths.
Jamie Codd came close to his first winner in the final race but had to take second on Kiera Royale for David Harry Kelly.
There are two meetings next weekend as the action starts to intensify, at Moira, Co. Armagh, on Saturday, and the famed Galway Blazers race at Kilreekill, Loughrea, on Sunday.
Reigning champions Colin Bowe and Barry O’Neill made bright starts to the new season last weekend.