Champ O’Neill will be hard to shift
CHAMPION RIDER Barry O’Neill showed he is going to be hard to shift with a treble at the Kilkenny Hunt meeting on Sunday, on a day when the Wexford connections were in dominant form here and at the Stonehall Harriers meeting in Limerick.
O’Neill won the older geldings’ maiden on John Halley’s Lisronagh Stone by just over a length from Rob James on Donnachadh Doyle’s Really Radical.
He doubled up in the Winner of Two on Paul Nolan’s impressive Shawshank, which may now be bound for the sales ring.
He completed the treble in the concluding older horses’ maiden on Kiera Royale for David Kelly from Nenagh.
He was denied a four-timer by a head in an exciting finish to the five- and six-years-old mares’ maiden by Rob James on D.J. Ryan’s Remember Jack, being pipped on Vincent Halley’s Beliou Le Fume, with the Corrigans from Blackwater third on Gold Time.
Denis Murphy had his first four-year-old maiden winner of the season with Highgate Hill under Simon Cavanagh who kept cool when hindered by a loose horse.
In Limerick, Tiernan Power-Roche (Tomhaggard) scored on Michael and Ashleigh Murphy’s (Duncormick) Costly Diamond (out of Mahler), beating Colin Bowe’s Subtle Quest under James Kenny.
In the four-year-old geldings’ maiden, Michael Goff kept up his good run with Lou Trek scoring under Shane Fitzgerald, while Jimmy O’Rourke won Division 2 on Picanha by a short head for Andrew Latta, from Luke Murphy on Ellen Doyle’s Defuture is Bright.
Jamie Codd had to wait until the concluding older geldings’ maiden to get his winner of the weekend on Daryl and William Deacon’s Coach Road. The son of Sendawar was certainly not winning out of turn, having been second five times.
O’Neill is on eleven winners, three ahead of Rob James and six clear of Derek O’Connor. Donnachadh Doyle is leading handler with five winners, one ahead of Colin Bowe at this early stage.
Next weekend sees the first meeting of the season within the county with the Wexford Hunt racing at Ballinaboola on Sunday, with the first flag falling at 12 noon.
They race at Loughanmore, Co. Antrim, and Lisronagh, Co. Tipperary, on Saturday, and at Dromahane, Co. Cork, on Sunday.
Rob James (jockey), Colin Bowe (trainer), John Hore (Business Manager, GAIN Equine Nutrition) and Barry O’Neill (jockey) at the launch of the GAIN Mares Series which kicked off with the Kilkenny point-to-point on Sunday. The series has been running for almost three decades and covers 21 legs in seven counties, with the final taking place in Ballynoe, Co. Cork, on Sunday, March 31, 2019.