Won­der­ful year for Barry O’Neill

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - BY PE­GA­SUS

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.

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