The Hollinwell should strip a lot fitter at Kilkenny Point to Point!

The Kilkenny Foxhounds have the weekend to themselves in the Point to Point fields with a fixture at Grennan in South Co Kilkenny.

With 19 entries in the Open Lightweight a number of names pop out including Eugene O’Sullivans The Hollinwell from Co Cork.

Last seasons champion horse returned to action at Tinahely earlier in the month but had to give best to the 5 year younger Co Wexford challenger Need To Know for JP Brennan.

O’Sullivan might well have been a little easy on the 11 year old son of Classic Cliche since Kinsale in June and he should strip a little fitter here if getting a run.

Gordon Elliott’s new recruit Oscar Barton also holds an entry here. Already a winner this season his defeat of Mossy Joe on the track at Cork earlier in the summer is good form and would see him in with a major chance!

When you throw in a couple of veteran horses in the shape of Sean Aherne’s ,Isourbell, and Susan Oakes and O’Muircheartaigh the pace will be quick over the 3 mile track.

The meeting also stages a 4 year old Maiden with 19 potential runners, with some interesting sires including Mahler, Black Sam Bellamy, Shirocco and Robin Des Pres all represented.

The Winners contest has a possible maximum field of 12, while 20 mares hold an entry in their own maiden.

The only race that could see a divide is the 36 entries in the 5 and 6 year old geldings maiden and the meeting will come to a close with Novice Riders maiden for older horses.

So it wont be a long day and it promises much for all concerned!

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Whats on this Week?

On the Track:

27th Galway, Wexford, 29th Punchestown, 30th Clonmel, 31st Down Royal , Dundalk (e), 1st Down Royal, 2nd Cork, Naas.

Point to Pointing:

2nd Co Roscommon (H) CANCELLED,
2nd Kilkenny (F).

In the Sales Ring:

31st Goresbridge (Mixed Thoroughbred Sale)

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Codds six winners proves he wont relinquish his title that easily.

The battle lines were well and truly drawn even at this early stage in the race for champion Point to Point rider over the weekend.

Derek O’Connor leads the table with 8 winners, following a fine treble at the Co Limerick Foxhound meeting in Rathcannon. While Barry O’Neill kept tabs on him with a nice double at Loughanmore on Saturday being added to with another winner at the Meath and Tara meeting at Tattersalls Farm seeing him on the 7 winner mark.

Both of them however will sit up and take note of the hurricane unleashed by Jamie Codd over the weekend with the reigning champion riding six winners, with a treble at both Loughanmore and at Tattersalls Farm.

Codd is nothing, if not competitive and these winners prove one thing, he wont relinquish his title for lack of effort!!

Loughanmore in East Antrim saw the Wexford man take the Open Lightweight on Liam Kenny’s Vital Plot. This is a classy horse who got back to winning ways here and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him put away by Kenny till spring time if the going deteriorates in the next few weeks.

Codd opened with a win for another Wexfordman in the shape of Denis Murphy on Shantou Village. This 4 year old debutante by Shantou was reported as having won this well. With Tom O’Sullivan listed as the owner this young horse will likely see the inside of a new stable in another trainers yard before long.

The Codd treble was completed on James Lambe’s Shanroe Santos with the 5 year old Definite Article horse’s track form far superior to any of the others and so it proved.

Barry O’Neill didn’t see Jamie Codd’s rear in every race as he had a double here himself.

He shared this with Donnchadh Doyle and Colin Bowe, with Mr Mountain and The Tinker Molly both winning.

Mr Mountain only a 4 year old by Mountain High took this Winners race and is likely destined for pastures new if Donnchadh Doyles past record is to be used as evidence, while Colin Bowes Flemensfirth mare The Tinker Molly might just stay put in his yard with an option of a run on the track a possibility.

The Codd hurricane blew into Tattersalls Farm on Sunday afternoon striking in the very first race with Washington Lady for Donnchadh Doyle. This Beneficial 4 year old mare will head to the sales following this impressive win.

Doyle has his yard in good form and his second winner of the day at the track , Crosshue Boy will head the same way following his win in the Winners under Barry O’Neill. Doyle actually had four winners over the weekend as he also saddled Uppertown Society to win at Rathcannon with Rob James in the saddle, to put himself in first position in the handlers table!

But back to the hurricane and Jamie Codd took the Open over the Banks course at Tattersalls Farm when winning on Denis Murphy’s Theroadtocroker causing an upset in defeating the British import Current Exchange.

His sixth winner of the weekend came on Ballyhack Buck for Ross O’Sullivan and Nina Carberry.

While down in Limerick Derek O’Connor won on Maberry for Robert Tyner, The Chuckmeister for John Berry and Out Now for John Gleeson to record a nice treble on the day.

But in truth Codd’s tally of six winners was like a hurricane over the weekend and promises much for the rest of the season.

Moore and Casey take the top race on day 1 of Wexfords Bank Holiday Fixture

The October Bank Holiday Weekend kicked off on Saturday at Bettyville with a seven race card at Wexford Racecourse on day 1 of their 2 day fixture.

Sponsored in its entirety by Casey Enterprises based in North Co Wexford the willingness of this local business to support their local track is both noteworthy and commendable.

With a drying wind blowing across the harbour in Wexford Town the going was Good, Good to Firm in places , unseasonal in most years , but just a little quicker than than encountered at the same fixture last year!

So that O zone effect is most certainly having an impact in the Sunny South East.

Punters or more specifically favourite backers had a torrid enough time with only one winning favourite , and that was a 13/8 on chance in the very last race.

The steeplechase track was the curtain raiser with the two opening races utilising the 2 mile 3 furlong distance.

The days top prize , the €25,000 Casey Precast Handicap Steeplechase saw 8 horses face the starter following the withdrawal of course specialist, Foritsa.

With Call Rog going off favourite the Mark Walsh ridden horse diced with Dick Dundee until that Paul Nolan trained top weight headed him under a positive ride from Brian O’Connell.

The pace setters seemed to have done enough until veteran jockey David Casey unleashed a winning run from 6 year old Westerner gelding Mitebeall Forluck to collar the Kings Theatre 9 year old , Dick Dundee close home by a head.

Trained by the legendary Arthur Moore and carrying the colours of the yards longtime patron Chris Hanbury this well bred horse added to his one previous win , at Clonmel, returned at 13/2.

Speaking afterwards the winning trainer commented “He is ground dependent , who might run again tomorrow or early next week. He is going the right way, with the few extra furlongs here a help. He ran a blinder with David giving him a bloody good ride’

The opening Beginners Chase saw 9 runners face the starters flag with the Co Tipperary based Ballinard Billy taking it under Johnny Burke.

This race saw Burke set a good pace on the 9 year old Aidan Fogarty trained Anshan gelding Ballinard Billy.

Strongly pressed by Philip Rothwells , Merrion Row and Paul Nolans , Illtakeitfromhere two fences from home, they had to give way as David Splaine and Tulpar ran on to lead between the last two fences.

Tulpar ran about however on the run to the last and interfering with Illtakeitfromhere both of them failed to survive the fence with Tulpar unseating his rider and Mikey Fogarty falling on Illtakeitfromhere.

This melee allowed Burke and Ballinard Billy to regain the advantage and run out a 3/1 winner.

Speaking afterwards his enthusiastic owner Donal Cullen noted “We have put Ballinard , Co Tipperary on the map, we needed a bit of luck, he has had five seconds both on the track and in point to points. They went a fast pace but this was deserved”

The racing focus at the track switched to the hurdle course after the second race with Co Tipperary based trainer/jockey Denis Hogan taking the 2 mile 4 furlongs maiden hurdle on Beautiful Ben.

This 4 year old Beneficial gelding jumped well to lead from the second hurdle and stayed on comfortably to win.

Some of the competitiveness of the race was lost at the third last as the well fancied Hallings Treasure came down in the hands of Bryan Cooper a point mentioned afterwards by Hogan ” It was a weak enough maiden hurdle and with the favourite out you just couldn’t say what it was like” continuing “But he jumped well and thanks to Ann Grace from the yard, as she travels all the horses for me and gets them here ready to run”

With €10,000 on offer in the Casey Tarmacadam Mares Hurdle it was left to Kevin Sexton and Catamini to cause the surprise of the day when taking the 2 miles 4 furlong contest for Co Kildare based trainer,Sean Byrne at 14/1.

The home bred 6 year old daughter of Golan owned by the trainers wife Brenda returned to form here to win for the second time of her career at Wexford and the third time in all.

This was a very tight race as the entire field of five was in with a chance on the long run in after the last hurdle.

Speaking afterwards Byrne noted ” She is back to herself, we have had some problems with her hooves. She battled well today and we will try to stick to some mares hurdles ”

Co Clare trainer Michael McDonagh missed seeing his colours pass the winning post in first place as Taken Twice came from way off the pace in the Casey Concrete sponsored hurdle to win at 6/1.

Ridden by Co Kilkenny based Brian O’Connell the Presenting 8 year old “Disappointed the last day when ridden too handily, he got into a nice rhythm here , but good ground is the key to him” according to the winning jockey.

Lindas Choice had been in good form of late and the 7 year old Golan mare opened her account for her Co Kildare based trainer Homer Scott in 2 mile handicap hurdle.

Scott , famous for handling some really good horses in the past including from memory Omerta and The Illiad was quick to let his owners do the talking here following the 5/1 victory under Ricky Doyle.

The mare had been up with the pace pretty much all the way and with the last hurdle omitted the very, very long run home suited.

Champion amateur jockey Patrick Mullins was more than double jobbing at the track, as not only did he ride the only winning favourite on the day, Captain Carol, he also drove the horse lorry and did the media briefing before heading back to Co Carlow.

The 13/8 on favourite by Captain Rio 4 year old was “Professional, honest and a push button ride” with a strong indication given that she would be seen next over hurdles for her Co Sligo born owner MJ Mulvaney.

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The Turf Club must act on the Philip Fenton affair!

So the Courts have ruled, Fenton is guilty, an appeal is on the horizon and the Irish Turf Club is to do exactly what?

After months of mischief, misinformation ,ducking and diving , the case that has brought the probity and some would say honesty of Irish racing into question reach another station along the line.

With a guilty verdict and a fine Philip Fenton’s career in racing should be over.

Steroid use in the horse racing world really is a no no and a policy of zero tolerance has to be implemented.

Unfortunately its not over… and the Department of Agriculture has no remit in the issuing of licences to horse trainers with the Irish Turf Club seemingly powerless to revoque or refuse one where an ongoing case is in progress in the event of an appeal.

But in all truth its time to call a halt to this.

Irish racing and the wider horse industry is going to be the loser here if Philip Fenton continues to hold a licence.

So what can be done? In the event of Fenton himself not taking the honourable decision and hand in his licence, the Turf Club has to be brave and ACT.

I know , I know they say they don’t have the powers but they have push this beyond current legal advice , revoque his licence and let him take them to court if he wishes. It is worth the risk and the expense to push this as far as the Turf Club can, they have to act to try and protect racing.

They just cannot sit back and do nothing!

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The Point to Point world is well catered for this Halloween Weekend in Antrim, Limerick and Meath.

With action in three of the four provinces in Ireland this weekend the point to point world is well catered for with East Antrim , Co Limericks and the Meath & Tara Hunts all in action over this October Bank Holiday Weekend.

All three meetings offer a fair level of interest to anyone interested with the East Antrim Hunt getting the ball rolling at Loughanmore on Saturday the 25th in Ulster.

With the Islandbawn Open scheduled for 4.00 a maximum field of 16 can face the starters flag.

The strength of this race could rest with last weekends Loughbrickland form where Oscar Barton and Vital Plot finished first and second in the Open Lightweight. Its probably questionable if both will be in the line up with a quick surface the key to Liam Kennys Co Wexford trained horse Vital Plot.

Rain was not that evident in his part of the world but I’m not sure if everywhere else was that lucky.

With the 10 year old flat bred son of Theatrical recording a fine second to On The Fringe at Punchestown last May he should be a serious challenger again next spring in quality Hunter Chasers.

The same might also be said of Oscar Barton with the April Cork Hunter Chase winner proving his wellbeing at Loughbrickland when putting Vital Plot in his place.

With a transfer to Gordon Elliott this season seemingly giving the 9 year old Oscar gelding a boost he may just be a force this season.

The field also boasts the seasons first Open winner in the shape of Loughnagall for Ciaran Myrphy and Dot Love , Highly Unlikely from Liam Lennons yard and Kerrib Castle from Stephen McConvilles Co Armagh yard.

When you throw in Vincent Halleys trio of Boxing Along, Charlie Swift and Valentino’s Choice with David Christies , Bullock Harbour, Nodforms Violet and The Last Derby , it looks like a fairly competitive race in prospect.

The Open at the Co Limerick Foxhound meeting at Rathcannon also promises much on paper on Sunday the 26th.

With 21 horses entered on the afternoon at the Munster venue it could well be the race of the weekend.

But with so many double entries, the likelihood is that one or two of them might try elsewhere or wait for another day.

Enda Bolgers , Mossey Joe, had to settle for third place at Aintree in the Foxhunters and again at Cork in April.

The 11 year old Moscow Society gelding was just a little disappointing , particularly behind Oscar Barton at Cork so he needs a couple of strong performances to get him back to the top for owner Barry Connell.

With Eugene O’Sullivan holding entries with Cork Citizen and Galloping Gander , I’d fancy the first named with the 6 year old son of Overbury looking to have further improvement in him.

Another two handed trainer here is Co Clare based Noel Glynn with his Loughrea Open winner Becauseicouldntsee and Listowel Hunter Chase winner Gonebeyondrecall.

Both of these are more than capable of winning on their day, so they shouldn’t be excluded.

While Co Cork based Paul O’Flynn might give Nevskij a run here with the 9 year old Beneficial gelding fit from a couple of runs on the track.

As I said , if they all turned up!!!

The other Open will be staged at the Meath and Tara meeting at Tattersalls in Co Meath with the Banks course in operation.

Disappointingly only 9 horses were entered but it might be worth taking note of Gordon Elliotts new recruit , Current Exchanges. Owned , like Oscar Barton by Kaniz Bloodstock this ex British performer , an 8 time Point winner and 3 time track winner will give a great line between Irish and British form.

The previously mentioned Gonebeyondrecall also has an entry here while Serious Times and Theroadtocroker might trouble the more fancied horses.

It looks like being a nice weekend in the point to point fields, try not to miss it!

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No Typo, as Wexford Racecourse is treated badly.

And there I was thinking it was a typo!!

Late last year I looked at the 2014 racecourse fixture listing and saw the now traditional two day Halloween Weekend fixture at Wexford being staged on Saturday the 25th and Monday 27th.

Splitting a two day weekend fixture into two single meetings over three days looked like a typo….but I was wrong, oh so wrong!!!!!

Seemingly the Irish racing authorities decided to split the Wexford fixture, to allow Leopardstown to race on Saturday and Sunday the 26th bringing the flat racing season at the Dublin Track to a close while accommodating Galway with its Sunday and Monday fixture.

There have also been some mutterings of a clash with the Breeders Cup in the USA the following weekend???

Wexford is a relatively small provincial track, striving to keep its head above water , while attempting to enhance and improve its offering to racegoers and to the racing industry.

How this decision to split the two day fixture at the track helps , assists or enhances racing in the south east is totally unclear.

If a split two day fixture was beneficial surely Leopardstown, Galway et al would jump at it and stage it that way themselves.?

So I assume it isn’t beneficial for them.

So just why Wexford has to be sacrificed is the question?

Simply put , its the big boys stomping all over the little boys yet again with either Horse Racing Ireland or the Turf Club or both totally at fault.

Its an enormous pity that the biggest race meeting at Wexford has been treated so badly in this cavalier way and the racing authorities intend to repeat the dose in 2015!

So definitely no typo!

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Whats on this Week?

On the Track:

22nd Navan, 23rd Thurles, 24th Dundalk (e), 25th Leopardstown, Wexford, 26th Galway, Leopardstown.

Point to Pointing:

25th East Antrim (H), 26th Co Limerick (F), Meath (F) & Tara (H).

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Its a Touch of Deja Vu at Loughbrickland with O’Connor back at the head of affairs!

Do you know the Point to Point season is beginning to have a Touch of Deja Vu about it !!!

Derek O’Connors double at Co Down fixture at Loughbrickland on Saturday saw the multiple champion jockey back on top of that particular table.

With a glint of steel in the eye the Galway man is intent on challenging Jamie Codd in 2014/15 for the title.

O’Connor teamed up with Colin McKeever and Wilson Dennison to take the 5 Year Old Geldings Maiden with Kerisper. Given a nice introduction at Necarne in May the Robin Des Champs horse took this comfortably. With Rathbarry Stud happy to see a point winner for their stallion Robin Des Champs this horse is likely to race in new colours before long.

O’Connor was seen at his strongest in the Winner of Two when Chosen Dream held on by a head from JC Barry’s LOL JK.

Chosen Dream had a bit of track form, twice placed in Britain, to his credit, but the 6 year old by Well Chosen seems to have blossomed in this sphere.

A return to the track might well happen for Graham McKeevers horse as he has a handicap mark, but from this vantage point he might be better staying at this level with a tilt at some hunter chases in the spring time a possibility.

Knockhouse Stud in Co Kilkenny will have been more than pleased to see their stallion Touch Of Land have a 4 year old Maiden winner in the shape of Lovely Job. Having his first run since Oldtown in March the Donnchadh Doyle trained horse took the opener here under Barry O’Neill.

Wexford based Doyle has developed a real knack of racing, winning and selling point to point horses over the past number of years.

They usually race in name of the Monbeg Syndicate but unusually this winner raced in the name of the D & N Syndicate , but I would be surprised if he wasn’t sold on , either privately or in the sales ring.

Tim Donworth must have been all smiles following the Open Lightweight having ridden Oscar Barton to victory.
The former Sam Curling in mate , an Open winner earlier this year , has since then changed hands and moved stables. Now in the care of Gordon Elliott , the 9 year old Oscar gelding, a track winner in the past looks likely to give Donworth and the Kaniz Bloodstock Investments Partnership a few more good days.

They readily defeated Vital Plot, making his seasonal debut for Liam Kenny and Jamie Codd, with that horse noted in running for the future.

Codd got his season off on a winning note later in the day as he took the older geldings maiden with Hillview Lad for Mark Quigley.

This Vinnie Roe 6 year old had a bit of placed form to his name and probably deserved a win at this level, while Lester Doran took the mares maiden with the Dilahaan mare Remember The Past.

Raced on the track in April 2014 by the Co Louth based , Doran, the mare benefitted from this experience to score. It would he a major surprise to me if the Jamie Flynn winner wasn’t tried again inside the rails.

So with Derek O ‘Connor back on top, you can see why it feels a little like Deja Vu!!!!

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Only one Point to Point fixture this weekend.

Loughbrickland holds court this weekend in the Point to Point fields with the Co Down fixture on Saturday the only one in a condition to race following the cancellation of the Golden Vale meeting.

The 13 runner Open Lightweight looks like being a good race on paper with Klassy, Sebadee and Vital Plot all given an entry.

The ground is the key to each of these with neither Sam Curling, Denis Cullen nor Liam Kenny likely to risk their horses on soft ground.

Derek O’Connors double at Loughrea on Fact of the Matter and Presenting Lisa sets him up well at this part of the season with Jamie Codd chomping at the bit to get his season under way.

Other jockeys quick out of the traps this year include Mark Scallan and JJ Slevin who both opened their accounts with wins on Teds Island and Subtitle where early season form was worth taking into account.

Enjoy !

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