Wonderful year for Barry O’Neill
2018 WAS a wonderful year in every respect for jockey Barry O’Neill from Kiltealy. He retained his point-to-point riders’ championship, is top of the table again at the mid-season break, and he also swept the season’s major awards.
Not only did he win the win the national title, he was also top rider on both the Northern and Eastern circuits. He became only the fourth rider to exceed the 500 career winner mark, following on from Derek O’Connor, Jamie Codd and the late Thomas McNamara.
And to cap it all, on a personal level he got married to Brigid Bowe, niece of Colin who has been his mentor for so long and for whom he has ridden so many winners.
Barry and Brigid moved into their new home at Kiltealy during the year and are expecting their first baby in April.
He is in regular demand on the track also and finished the year on a high note with winners at Clonmel and Limerick in the closing couple of weeks.
The final meeting of the year took place at Dromahane in Cork on Sunday, December 30, and there was a double for O’Neill and Bowe in the four-year-old maidens. There was a tight finish in the mares’ race, but O’Neill held out on a debutant, Fort Worth Texas, a daughter of Gold Well.
The pair won Division 2 of the geldings by an impressive ten lengths with Bourbon Borderline (a son of Milan) from Rob James on Oscarsman for Michael Goff from Clondaw. O’Neill was also second in both the older horses’ maidens for ‘outside’ handlers.
O’Neill was in action at Lisgoold in Cork on Sunday and combined with Bowe for an easy win in the opening five-year-old mares’ maiden with Thomas Cloke’s Streets of Fire, but this was his only success.
Young Jack Hendrick from Woodtown, Mayglass, had his second career win on Pierce Power’s (The Hook) Burning Ambition in the open novice riders’ race, holding off Fenno’s Storm by half a length. The horse’s ultimate target is the Foxhunters Chase at the Aintree Grand National meeting.
They also ran at Mainstown, Carrick-onSuir, and the big local winner was Tiernan Power-Roche (Tomhaggard) who took the five-year-old mares’ maiden on board Karen’s Gift, trained by John Martin Walsh (Scar, Duncormick) for Martina Power.
Harley Dunne was second on Shark Hanlon’s Dime a Dozen, with Gary Murphy third on Richard O’Keeffe’s Lexi’s Warrior.
Luke Murphy (Inch) was second in the mares’ winner of one on Kiera Royale for Harry Kelly, with Barry Stone (Cleariestown) third on Proper Ticket, handled by Robert McCabe (Corbally), and Mark Scallan (Cleariestown) was second on Ivan Walker’s (Bunclody) Uppertown Poppie in the six-year-old mares’ maiden.
Next Sunday (January 13) there is the first ‘local’ fixture’ of the year with the Shillelagh and District Hunt racing at Fairwood in Tinahely, and they will also run at Aghabullogue in Cork.
Taghmon jockey P.J. McDonald
Barry O’Neill from Kiltealy.