The Open Lightweights are in for an Aristocratic boost.

Racing in the Point to Point sector this weekend sees two former high class racehorses among the entries at Ballinaboola and Dromahane.

With an aristocratic twist, Lord Windermere and Sir Des Champs may well be saddled this Sunday. Having raced and won at Cheltenham festivals in the past both of these horses have also tried their luck over the Aintree fences in past runnings of the Grand National.

Also amongst the entries are Sydney Paget, BL Swagger and Enniskillen. With 33 entries between the Ballywalters Farm and Singletons Super Valu sponsored Opens, being somewhat confused by handful of double entries in both it is always difficult to pick a winner.

The best thing to do is to make the effort get out to either of these two meetings, see who is declared and catch a glimpse of two aristocrats of the track on a new stage.

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Its just a numbers game!

Pt2Pt at Tinahely ,71 entries 42 runners, 6 individual wins, Riders season to date :Codd 7, O’Neill 7, O’Connor 6.

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Just where will the Oscar performance be this weekend?

The last weekend of November looks like being Oscars time with Gordon Elliotts Open Lightweight hopeful Oscar Barton entered up at three meetings, North Down at Kirkistown, Co Roscommon at Rockfield and the United Hunt meeting at Ballindenisk.

Just which of the three entries Gordon Elliott chooses to take up is anyones guess, but the Tim Donworth ridden hunter chaser has been one of the stars of the Open Lightweights so far this season and it is likely to continue.

The Kirkistown Open could well be a hot little race as not only is Oscar entered, but Colin McBratney has Carsonstown Boy and Marito among the 11 possibles.

Carsonstown Boy will strip fitter after his seasonal debut at Corbeagh House when fourth, while the German bred Marito hasn’t run winning a Listed race at Tramore when in the care of Willie Mullins.

If you add in Ross O’Sullivans Affane winner Dantes King to the mix you can gather just how hot it might be.

I’d imagine Elliott will side step the trip up north and way up other options.

With the Kirkistown fixture sharing the day with the Co Roscommon Harriers meeting Rockfield on Saturday, Oscar Barton holds an entry here with his 10 possible opponents listed.

The strength of this race could be a little weaker but Ian Fergusons recent winner James, Shark Hanlons rejuvenated Luska Lad and Peter Mahers Mtada Supreme are no back numbers and will make a race of it.

If I were asked for my opinion, and I’ve no doubt I wont be, I would put young Donworth up at this venue as they attempt to extend their winning sequence to four.

The Kingsley Hotel Open at Ballindenisk has 14 possible runners with Elliotts Oscar B amongst them.

Paul O’Flynn’s , Nevskij is entered here as are Jimmy Mangan’s Oscar Delta, Eoin Doyle’s Lookoutnow and Ian Fergusons , James.

The only Open that Oscar Barton isn’t entered in is the Mares Open at Lisronagh for which he isn’t eligible !

8 mares can face the starter at the Co Tipperary venue with some interesting entries here including Richard Lalor’s Carrigeen Acebo, Joseph O’Keeffes Miss Oscarose, Aiden Fitzgerald’s Miss Speedy from the younger brigade and Sean Ahernes veteran Isourbell.

Miss Oscarrose could just be able to step up to Open class here as Isourbell might not enjoy the softer ground on offer.

So if its an Oscar performance you want, its up to Gordon Elliott , Tim Donworth and Oscar Barton!


O’Sullivan takes the Banks on a day of singles and spills at Lingstown.

The Point to Point bandwagon rolled into, but probably more correctly , floated into the Killinick Harriers meeting at Lingstown on Sunday for their autumn fixture.

In truth the underfoot conditions were pretty good with the racing going ahead on ground officially described as yielding to soft, soft in places.

The bright sunny day helped to swell the crowd with a really large attendance availing of the fine weather and the standard six race card.

Thankfully it was a good day and a divide free one as well as the normally well organised meeting was staged at a leisurely pace,so much so that the fourth race , the Open Lightweight went off 25 minutes late!!!!

Now I know that officials had an issue or two with horses having to be reshod and some fence incorrectly disced off before the Open but that at best accounts for 10 minutes….

On the positive side changes made to the fences on both the regulation and banks courses seemed to have gone down particularly well.

The repositioning of the two regulation fences on the far side of the track was welcome and it seemed to ride very well with little if any fallers on the day.

When you include the decision to add in a regulation fence and a ditch, before and after the two double banks, the committee here has to take a bow as the course has been greatly enhanced, making it now an even stronger test of stamina and jumping.

What of the action?

It was a day of single winners , spills galore and a notable retirement with an opening winner for the much in the news Philip Fenton, one winner and two spills for Jamie Codd, the retirement of Dermot Whelan , a Banks first for Maxine O’Sullivan and a welcome win for the recently qualified veterinary surgeon Mark Slevin.

Keating Horse Transport sponsored the Open Lightweight and with 8 of the original entry of 11 declared it turned out to be the talking point of the day.

Jamie Codd was given the leg up on Theroadtocroker by Denis Murphy and they went off the 5/4 favourite as they attempted to follow up their Tattersalls Farm Open win in October.

In keeping with the leisurely day Codd set off at a very pedestrian pace, jumping well on the 10 year old Witness Box gelding they led Current Exchange, Loughgall and Cork Citizen for the best part of 2 miles and 5 furlongs.

In behind, Gary Murphy and Elembridge King who had tried to get into the shake up four from home started to back peddle, as the current Ladies Champion Maxine O’Sullivan sent Cork Citizen in pursuit of Codd.

Still a few lengths down after the second last, O’Sullivan seized the initiative as Codd lost contact with Theroadtocroker as the horse jinked left and then right as they rejoined the track proper and unseated Codd.

O’Sullivan popped the last fence in front on the 3/1 chance but had to withstand a barnstorming finish from Tim Donworth on Current Exchange who just failed by a head to peg them back.

Winning trainer William O’Sullivan indicated afterwards that ” He is only six, but he is for sale. If not sold he could run in a Hunters Chase at Limerick over Christmas. He is a progressive horse that really enjoys the banks”

This was the 6 year old son of Overbury’s sixth point win and he looks like a horse that might win even more in this sphere.

The same can be said of Jamie Codd’s first and what turned out to be only winner, Bothermenot. This 5 year old Publisher mare, bred by William Devereux and leased to the Heads and Harps Syndicate was pretty much covered up in the pack as Classic Palace tried to lead all the way accompanied by Escapefromthedark.

Neither of these two mares had any answer to Codd as the mare swept passed them with ease and while nearly coming a cropper at the last she managed to stay upright and win at even money.

William Codd her winning trainer indicated afterwards ” This was the plan, to get her here and win as its nice to have a winner locally. She had a real good run in the springtime and moved to Noel Meades yard. He suggested that as the mare was big she might merit going point to pointing.” Concluding Codd added”Plans for the mare are now fluid with the option of trying a bumper.”

Jamie Codd had high hopes of doubling up in the Kilkenny River Court Hotel sponsored 5 year old maiden on the Denis Murphy trained Loughaderra Prince. This 6/4 favourite had sailed into a clear lead before the last fence only to fall spectacularly at the last leaving the way clear for Roadie Joe and Benny Walsh to stand up and avoid the added departure of Epic Warrior and win.

Trained in Duncormick , Co Wexford by Brian Jordan, the 5 year old Golan gelding ” Will come on a tonne for that, he was a bit big but you need a bit of luck and to jump the fences”

Owned by local Kilmore Quay man John Bates, Jordan added ” We will sell the horse if we can”. Its been a good week for Jordan as he saddled a track winner, Annamatopoeia at Thurles, not bad hit rate for a yard with 10 horses!

This race had the biggest field of the day with 19 runners where the flying starts of both Harry O Tully and Reign Of Glory were notable.

The Winners of Two saw a welcome return to the winners enclosure for Kiltrea man Mark Slevin. The recently qualified Veterinary Surgeon, now working with Diarmuid O’Sullivan in Bunclody took the Kilmore Potatoes Ltd race on Ash Rowe for his father Shay Slevin and Co Westmeath owner Michelle Ryan.

This Milan 7 year old has a handicap mark of 95 over hurdles which might be exploited according to Slevin who added “We might go for another Winners, but he has to keep improving his jumping”

Liam Kennys , Paddy The Deejay , tried to make all the running under Harley Dunne but he had no answer to Slevin and Ash Rowe as they overturned their placings and form at Maralin a fortnight ago at 6/1.

Slevin who rides out at home before heading to work every day noted “Its nice to be home and locally based after so long away”

Ashleigh and Michael Murphy are members of the local hunt and they welcomed home their winner Mighty Vic under Gary Murphy.

Indicating that the 6 year old son of Old Vic will stay in the yard after. “Galloping to the line today”

One of 5 runners on the day at the track from their yard of 10 horses it was good to see them getting a worthwhile return.

Murphy continues to catch the eye and rode a really patient race here in the Jordan’s Bar and Lounge 6 Year Old and Older Maiden as Becca’s Girl, Liverpool Lad and Flaysini battled it out at the front.

Philip Fenton much in the news was on hand to welcome back the Brightwells Cheltenham Breeze Up Sale 4 Year Old Maiden winner, Highway Storm.

Ridden by Dungarvan man Richie Kiely, the Stowaway gelding has according to Kiely ” The makings of a chaser, he jumps and gallops and is a good horse”

What of Dermot Whelan?, the Kinnagh based jockey retired gracefully after a career between the flags, leaving behind some great memories of a tough and talented jockey.

Thats the story of today….
single winners and spills galore……as the hunt goes on for the missing minutes !!!!!!!



It looks like a pretty hectic weekend in the point to point fields.

It looks like being a pretty hectic weekend in the point to point fields with a busy Saturday and Sunday planned.

Racing kicks off tomorrow at Toomebridge with the Mid Antrim Hunt while the Golden Vale Foxhounds also race at Glenbane.

Entries unfortunately are not that strong with just 63 and 80 respectively, with both meetings requiring a strong declaration to make racing competitive.

The Dew Valley Open Lightweight at Glenbane has 13 entries with an interesting race on offer, if they all turn up!

Eugene O’Sullivan has one of last seasons strongest Open horses, The Hollinwell entered from his Co Cork yard.

He has not quite come back to that form this year but the softer ground and some stiffer galloping tracks might just help.

Others of note here include, Eoin Doyle’s , Come To The Party, with the Co Kilkenny trainer no doubt hopeful that the 11 year old Taipan gelding can return to his winning track form at Limerick in 2013.

I also spotted the 7 year old Flemensfirth gelding, Lord of Lords among the entries. Edward O’Grady also has given him an entry at Boulta but I’d reckon that if fit he might just run at Glenbane.

This former bumper winner must have had an issue or two but he looks a possibility if saddled.

The Open at Toomebridge sponsored by Doherty and Grey Meats has 11 entered and if you exclude the stand out entry, Oscar Barton, it looks a difficult race to decipher.

Boxing Along and The Last Derby are entered here for Vincent Halley and David Christie.

Neither of these two horses have run into form yet, with Christie also likely to be represented by The Hard Hat. This 10 year old Beneficial horse might not be the quickest but he has run reasonably of late, at Corbeagh House and Maralin. He may get most to do from Colin McBratneys Sole Witness, with the Witness Box 10 year old in good form since switching from the track.

The Banks course at Lingstown on Sunday will see the Keating Transport sponsored Open at the South Wexford venue.

With just 11 entries for the race, the other 5 races see a total of 107 on the day. The only real chance of a divide on the day is in the 5 Year Old Geldings Maiden which has 29 entries!

The Open looks , perhaps, like being a match between Denis Murphys Theroadtocroker and Gordon Elliotts Current Exchange.

Both of these horses clashed over the Banks course at Tattersalls Farm with Murphy’s 10 year old by Witness Box upsetting Elliotts 5/2 on favourite.

The Tim Donworth ridden 9 year old Beneficial horse has since disappointed behind Seventh Sign at Kilworth, so he has something to prove here.

But both of them might be under pressure to beat a returned to form Cork Citizen, with my hunch being that O’Sullivans Overbury 6 year old might just take the day if travelling up from Co Cork.

The entries at the Co Waterford fixture at Boulta are the strongest, with a divide or two likely in the 4 and 5 Year Old Maiden’s.

The Kenneally Steel Open has 17 entries with some notable entries including Adrian Maguires , Seventh Sign, Eoin Doyles, Davy From Milan, Denis Prendergasts , Easyondeye and Corkseagh Royale.

When you throw in the returning Powerstation, Valentino’s Choice , Cork Citizen, The Hollinwell and Harpor it looks like a race to savour.

If Adrian Maguire gives Declan Queally the leg up again on Seventh Sign at Boulta they may just shade it.

With Derek O’Connor, Jamie Codd and Barry O’Neill leading the way in the jockeys championship, this weekend will see all three strive to put more winners on the board.

Just who leads the championship on Sunday evening is anyones guess.


O’Connor and Codd match strides as Kavanagh and Donworth take the Opens.

Affane and Corbeagh House managed to race on Sunday with both venues serving up a six race card for the Point to Point enthusiast.

The Dungarvan Hunt saw Derek O’Connor record a double at the Affane course opening with Heron Heights in the 5 Year Old Maiden.

This Donal Hassett owned and trained Heron Island gelding had only managed to complete one point prior to this, at Inchydoney, but built on that second place to win here.

This looks like a sort for the sales in the future after a patient ride here by his Co Galway pilot.

O’Connor served up a similar dish in the Mares Winners race which he took on the Joseph O’Keeffe’s Miss Oscarose. This 7 year old Oscar mare ridden by O’Connor for the first time, was winning for the third time between the flags and may repeat the fete before seasons end.

The MMG Irl. Horse Rail Open was confined to novice riders with the Co Kildare based Roderic Kavanagh winning on Dantes King for Ross O’Sullivan. This 3 time track winner was a fine second at Grennan Mill behind Oscar Barton and looks like a horse that could provide Kavanagh another winning opportunity or two in his mother Antoinette’s silks.

The 9 year old Kings Theatre gelding won this in a tight finish but there just might be more to come from him during the season.

Racing opened at the Co Waterford track with a welcome win for Pat Collins, who took the opening Brightwells Bloodstock 4 year old Maiden with Eoin Doyles Jetstream Jack.

This Beneficial gelding , raced in the colours of Patricia Doyle the winning trainers mother.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this horse appear next in the sales ring!

The other two races at this venue saw Eoin O’Sullivan win on the 5 year old Fruits of Love mare Um From Umbridge for his father Eugene while Jim Culloty saddled his own Topsham Breeze to take the Older Horses Maiden under Jonathan Fitzgerald.

The new track at Corbeagh House was the venue for this seasons Weatmeath and Longford Hunt fixture with reigning champion Jamie Codd taking the first race on Cogryhill. Trained by Gordon Elliott and owned by Wilson Dennison the well supported 4 year old by Presenting made an eyecatching debut.

Codd kept tabs on Derek O’Connor at the head of the jockeys title race with a double of his own when winning on Chosen Dream.

The Well Chosen 6 year old gelding, had a bit of track form but has really blossomed since going pointing, taking his fourth race here.

Trained by Graham McKeever , they just might be tempted to return to the track , but thats just a hunch.

Another former track performer, Barry Connells Court Frontier, finally got his head in front when winning here under JJ Firzpatrick. Trained by Alan Fleming the Court Cave gelding ran well at Ballinaboola last weekend when a staying on second.

A return to the track is also likely for this horse, but I wouldn’t rule out a hunter chase or two rather than hurdles!

Gordon Elliott has kept his new recruit Oscar Barton on the go since the start of the season with the Tim Donworth ridden horse winning for the third time so far in the Open Lightweight category.

The took the Quinns Supply Stores Ltd Open here with a spin in a Hunters Chase now on the agenda.

The final two winners here saw Mr Cosmopolitan win for Jim Dreaper and Paul Cawley with Jo Go taking the Mares Maiden NJ Terry and Caroline O ‘Leary.


McBratney holds the Open key at Kirkistown and Corbeagh House.

Three Point to Points are listed this weekend but following some heavy rain over the past few days it would be wise to double check racing at all venues just to see!

The North Down Foxhounds racing on Saturday at Kirkistown with only 67 entries are listed so we have little fear of a longday in Co Down.

Sunday sees 79 entries at the Dungarvan Harriers meeting at Affane with the same number listed at Corbeagh House with the Westmeath Foxhounds and Longford Harriers hosting the event.

Thats just 225 horses entered in 18 races at 3 meetings, an average of a little over 12 per race, hardly the sign of a healthy sport ???

Derek O ‘Connor’s treble at Kilworth last Sunday, sees him leading the riders championship on 11 from Jamie Codd on the 10 winner
mark and Barry O’Neill with 9.

A double for O’Connor with the Pat Doyle trained Amber Gambler and Vinalhaven was followed up on Scoop It for Robert Tyner to see the Co Galway man keep pressure on the Co Wexford pair.

The Co Cork fixture also gave Declan Queally yet another winner with the Co Waterford jockey winning the Open with the Pivotal 5 year old Seventh Sign.

This was a pretty extraordinary performance by the former track race horse with his handler , Adrian Maguire,planning to keep him between the flags for the present.

Queally may well be at Affane on Sunday as could some of last weekends other winners Damien Skehan, Richie Deegan, Harley Dunne, Steve Clements, Mark Lynch and Noel McParlan, but it all depends on what bookings they get.

Action in the Open at Dungarvan will be restricted to Novice Riders but a nice entry including Becauseicouldntsee, Boxing Along, Isourbell , October Revolution and The Hollinwell makes it look like a pretty intriguing race.

My guess is that the Noel Glynn trained Becauseicouldntsee could make the trip from Clare and if turning up might well account for Isourbell and The Hollinwell.

A number of these entries also have the possibility of opting for the Westmeath and Longford where the Colin McBratney pair of Caronstown Boy and Marito are also listed.

With another interesting entry here in the shape of Shark Hanlons former classy track horse, Luska Lad.

Where or who will McBratney run here?

Both have an option at Kirkistown so …..?????

I will take a guess here and suggest that if both run this weekend , Carsonstown Boy will race at North Down and Marito at the midlands venue, with the key to both races being possibly decided by McBratney!!!


Codd Doubles up at Ballinaboola as new kid on the block Need To Know takes the Open.

The Point to Point world is blessed to have access to a top quality venue like that at Moorfields, Ballinaboola in Co Wexford.

With good road access, ample parking and good on track facilities the Wexford Foxhounds have been fortunate in securing the venue from willing local landowners.

More importantly however in the greater scheme of things is the quality of the track with many well regarded “judges” continuing to give it positive reports.

The local hunt staged their Autumn fixture at the track and with an entry of 107 and a declaration of 71 saw the customary six race card delivered. With the ground officially described as yielding those horses hoping for a bit of quicker ground might well have been disappointed.

Heavy rain in the area on Thursday of last week obviously seeped into the ground with a dry sunny Saturday probably just making it a little on the dead side and undoubtedly more testing.

The highlight of the afternoon had been billed as the clash of Vital Plot , Mossey Joe et al in the Ballywalter Farm sponsored Open Lightweight.

John Brennan has never been afraid to challenge the bigger players over the years and he threw Need To Know into the mix with three other runners , seeing six horses face the starter.

For the second time this season , Need To Know a Definite Article 6 year old lowered the colours of better fancied opponents and ran out a 3/1 winner from Vital Plot and Lord Heatfield.

Liam Kennys ,Vital Plot and Enda Bolgers , Mossey Joe vied for favouritism with the Jamie Codd ridden Vital Plot just about shading it at even money and Mossey Joe at 6/4 under Brian Lenihan just before the off.

In such a small field, Lenihan chose to set the pace on the Barry Connell owned 11 year old son of Moscow Society.

Jumping pretty well most of the way Mossey Joe was followed by Vital Plot, Need To Know and the remainder from flag fall.

Still to the forefront at the fourth last the giant chesnut gelding seemed to have taken the measure of Vital Plot who had fallen back to third as Barry O’Neill tried to drive Need To Know to pass Lenihan and Mossey Joe.

From this vantage point, he was still travelling comfortably at this stage and looking likely to stay in front.

With the field swinging into the home straight, the picture changed totally, Mossey Joe started to back peddle as Need To Know struck the front with a resurgent Vital Plot getting back on terms.

This pair had a ding dong battle up the hill with a slightly wayward Need To Know staying on stoutly to win by 2 and a half lengths from Vital Plot with the only other finisher, Lord Heathfield staying on to be third.

The decision to hold a stewards enquiry was no surprise nor the decision to allow the placings to remain unaltered.

Speaking afterwards a slightly uncertain trainer John Brennan commented ” It was great to win, I’d have been happy to be in the first three, but I’m not shocked. I was going to run him again before the end of December, maybe at Wexford or in Borris, but maybe he might have a break now. He will go to Leopardstown in the New Year, but he is for sale , qualified for Cheltenham now so there is no rush’

Having beaten last years Point to Point champion , The Hollinwell at Tinahely and now taken the scalps of Mossey Joe and Vital Plot its probably time for everyone in the racing world to sit up and take notice of Brennan’s rising star with his trainer adding ” The ground just might have been a little dead today and the horse himself just might not have been as alive as normal”

What of the two favourites?

Vital Plot might not have been at home on the dead ground with three quick runs in succession, while Mossey Joe may have needed the run on his seasonal debut, but they will have to encounter Need To Know again and the new kid on the block might just have the legs of them!

Racing opened with the 4 Year Old Maiden. This race saw 11 runners with the Mayglass based brothers William and Jamie winning with the Milan gelding For Instance in the colours of Jean Codd wife of the winning trainer William.

This was a very open contest with five of them vying for favouritism early on at 2/1 in the betting ring. Brian Jordans Robinstown Bridge lead for most of the journey here under Mark Scallan and while only finishing fourth is one for the notebook.

They were still in front three from home but gave way to the persistent challenges of Pawn Star and Inchiquin All Star.

Jamie Codd however had been biding his time out the back on For Instance and while looking like needing the experience he accelerated to win snugly.

Speaking afterwards in the winners enclosure, William Codd stated “Its great that he won, especially being so green. He is a big horse that ran well in a British bumper in springtime. He goes to Cheltenham for the Brightwell Sales on Friday”

Jamie Codd had a double on the day having also won the Nitrofert Wexford Hunt Cup for 5 Year Old and Older Mares on Queen Of Milan.

This 6 year old mare is not overly big but she gave her winning owner/ trainer Blackwater, Co Wexford based David O’Brien his very first success having taken over the reins in the Point to Point yard.

Not winning out of turn , the mare has finished in the first four on all completed starts in the point to point fields, she was not far off the pace here and justified favouritism winning easily.

O’Brien commented ” She jumps well for a handy mare, she will be sold or let off till next summer”

Co Limerick based trainer Enda Bolger sent a team of horses to the Co Wexford venue and didn’t leave empty handed following the odds on favourite success of Rosstemple in the 5 Year Old Geldings Maiden.

Racing in the colours of Co Limerick based John Power and ridden by his son Kevin, the 5 year old son of Kayf Tara held on to win by a length from Jamie Codd on Mullinavat.

Bred by Jim Mernagh of Coolamurry Stud the horse traces back to such fine chasers as Royal Relief and Spanish Steps with Bolger adding “This is a great track where the best horse wins. He got a bit close to the last, but he is a lovely horse who showed ability since being broken. The dream is alive after this win”

A 6 year old son of Witness Box named Subtitle won his maiden at the January 2012 fixture here under Kiltrea native JJ Slevin, and the same horse and jockey combination popped up to win again , this time the Cooney Furlong Winners of Two.

The story of this race is very simple, Slevin popped the horse off in the front and having opened up a long lead no one could reel him back in.

Slevin obviously judged the pace very well but the other 6 runners looked like they might well have been too busy looking at each other and forgot about the leader!

Trained by the jockeys father Shay and owned by Co Westmeath woman Michelle Ryan plans for the horse are simple enough according to Slevin ” We will stay pointing and maybe take in a Hunters Chase, but he likes it here and enjoys good ground”

The most local winner of the day saw the Horse and Hound Hotel sponsored Older Geldings Maiden being won by Corrigs, trained and ridden by Eddie Keating.

Keating trains 3 horses for Michael and Tom Corcoran in Nash, New Ross and this home bred son of the Knockhouse Stud stallion, Millenary took this race impressively.

With 18 runners they were well strung out three fences from home with Cango making the best of his way home with the well fancied Court Frontier running on.

Keating however knows his horse well as they swept past all comers to win easily.

The exact same connections took this race last year with Subtle Ben, who was sold on to Liz Doyle and has won on the track since.

“This horse has some track experience and he might go back that way ” according to Keating.



Codd and Kenny’s Vital Plot might beat the weather and clash with Mossey Joe and Morito ?

The Point to Point fields will be busy this weekend with three meetings scheduled starting at Maralin today for the Iveagh Harriers meeting while Sunday sees racing at Kilworth for the Kilworth and Araglen meeting and the Wexford Foxhounds race at Ballinaboola.

The John McGovern sponsored Open Lightweight at Maralin sees 14 entries with David Christie holding three entries and Colin McBratney with two.

Christie has The Last Derby engaged , with that son of Anabaa , one of last seasons most prolific early seasons winners having to prove his return to form.

Interestingly McBratney , now has charge of Marito and the 8 year old German bred was last seen in action at Tramore on New Years day 2014 when winning the Listed Holden Chase.

Then in the care of Willie Mullins, the Co Carlow based trainer indicated at the time that when originally purchased in France he was seen as a replacement for Hurricane Fly!!!!

Now having switched owners and trainers , this multiple track winner could well be campaigned in this world for the coming season but he is now unlikely to reach those Hurricane heights!

If the 8 year old son of Alkade turns out this weekend connections are more likely to race up North rather than take the option of racing at Ballinaboola on Sunday where he also holds an entry.

The Open Lightweight there sponsored by Ballywater Farm has the potential of being the race of the weekend with Enda Bolger’s Mossey Joe , Liam Kenny’s Vital Plot and Gordon Elliott’s Current Exchange all listed in addition to Marito.

Kenny is almost 100% certain to run Vital Plot at the Co Wexford venue with the reigning riders champion Jamie Codd in the saddle. Already successful this season, he is fit and ready to run.

Heavy rain on Thursday and again forecast for the weekend might just scupper that plan but a run against Mossey Joe is a real possibility.

That horse has not been seen since being beaten at Cork by Oscar Barton but Bolger will probably have him race fit wherever and whenever he runs for Barry Connell.

The Open at Kilworth and Araglen has only 10 entries with Current Exchange , Paul O’Flynns , Nevskij and Eugene O’Sullivans ,Cork Citizen all engaged. All of these have disappointed one way or the other this season so far and they would all be on a retrieval mission of sorts at the Co Cork fixture in the Containment Service Providers race.

The entry levels at the three meetings is reasonably strong but any divides will be rare with only the 5 Year Old Gelding Maiden Maiden at Kilworth looking a strong possibility.

Get out and race if you can!!!


Oscar takes the Open with doubles for Doyle, Elliott, James, Power and Purcell at Kilkenny Point to Point.

What a Difference a Day Makes as Dinah Washington might say!!!!! The Kilkenny Foxhound meeting at Grennan Castle, Thomastown was held in pretty near perfect conditions with the scheduled six races being extended to seven to accommodate the one divide on the day.

With the ground at the track described as good to yielding , pretty extraordinary when you think of it on the first Sunday of November, the 119 entries stood up well enough at declaration stage with 83 horses facing the starter.

With Oscar Barton taking the Open under Tim Donworth and doubles for Gordon Elliott, Kieran Purcell, Paul Power, Sean Doyle and Rob James all adding to an enjoyable days racing.

Racing was competitive with the eagerly awaited Ballygallon Stud sponsored Open Lightweight seeing a very strong field of 14 runners facing the starter for this three mile contest.

With the Tim Donworth ridden Oscar Barton going off the 6/4 favourite, hopes were high that the Gordon Elliott trained 9 year old Oscar horse could add to his Loughbrickland win in October.

Derek O’Connor was given the leg up on Sean Aherne’s admirable mare Isourbell with the 12 year old veteran leading them all for over two miles as the others jousted and scrimmaged in behind.

The tight track and bends here might just lend itself to well balanced horses and front runners, with many horses finding it difficult to get into a rhythm.

O’Connor and Isourbell put in some great leaps as O’Muircheartaigh, The Hollinwell and Boxing Along raced in behind.

Eoin O’Sullivan and The Hollinwell were the first of these to give way as they struggled to jump with fluency and made some uncharacteristic mistakes.

All the while Donworth was racing in mid division with Oscar Barton taking the lead after the fourth last.

This move saw them stride clear and look like putting the race out of reach.

One final challenge was thrown down at the last as the Ross O’Sullivan trained Dantes King came out of the pack to momentarily mount an effort.

Oscar Barton still had 4 lengths to spare under the Co Limerick based amateur Donworth who must be looking forward to the rest of the season. Speaking afterwards Simon McGonagle representing the Elliott yard stated ” Sure they did it well. We will keep to Opens for the time being and look Hunter Chases in the spring” He did however confirm that the owners would be looking towards Cheltenham and Aintree as possible longterm objectives for the horse.

The Co Meath yard of Gordon Elliott did double up on the day when the Charles Flattery owned and bred Miss Dinamic made a successful debut in the Eoin Doyle – Horse Trainer 5 and 6 Year Old Mares Maiden under Jamie Codd. This Kutub 5 year old mare had some reasonable bumper form to her name during the summer and once Codd pressed the “go” button no one could go with her.

Connections indicated afterwards that the mare would try her luck in a Winners contest before going back to the track.

Codds winner sees him join Derek O’Connor at the top of the national riders table on the 8 winner mark.

The opening 4 Year Old Maiden sponsored by WP Mullins – Horse Trainer saw 12 runners try their luck, with Native Gamut very well supported in the betting ring for the Co Wexford based Monbeg Syndicate under Barry O’Neill.

Their emerald green and orange colours did pass the post first but they were on Rob James who won on the Sean Doyle trained Black Sam The Man.

This 4 year old son of Black Sam Bellamy will be heading to the Cheltenham Sales Ring next according to his winning handler Sean Doyle who added “Rob gave him a super ride, he really settled today with the hood working a treat”

Rob James pretty much nicked it on the line as he battled past Derek O’Connor and Ballywilliam who had been prominent all the way and looked a likely winner until James unleashed his mount.

Co Wexford based Doyle and James doubled up in the second division of the Shark Hanlon sponsored 5 and 6 Year Old Geldings Maiden with Monbeg River.

His fourth place at Tinahely proved his well being 3 weeks ago and he built on it here. The 5 year old son of Indian River came from off the quick pace set by Royal Haslar and Sage Monkey to win very easily.

Doyle was quick to note the ride given by James and added “Thats our first double for a long time. Rob gave him a super ride and the hood did the trick again. He is likely to head next to a Winners where they will go a stride quicker”

Kieran Purcell who trains near Windgap, Co Kilkenny was on the double at the track as well with Co Waterford based Declan Queally and Paul Power sharing the riding honours for him.

Queally and Purcell took the first division of the Shark Hanlon sponsored maiden when winning with Bold Batchelor. This 5 year old son of Bachelor Duke was the favourite in the betting ring and sat in behind Glengra as that horse tried to lead all the way.

Queally had far to much fire power for the other 12 runners and won readily with Purcell stating “Its nice to have a double, the horses are good and healthy. This is a lovely big horse that will go back to the track”

Purcell gave Paul Power the leg up on Red Sunset in the Winners of Two with the Oscar 5 year old coming into the race two fences from the finish to pass the long time leaders All At Once and Subtitle.

Purcell nominated the Doncaster Sales as the next outing for this horse and if he doesn’t sell there he will try him in a bumper adding “It was so close here today to the yard we decided to take the opportunity and run him”

Power managed his own double on the day, with one win in the saddle and one as a trainer as his 7 year old Bakers Street took the concluding Friends of Thomastown GAA Older Horses maiden.

Ridden by American, Jeannie Cooke who was recording her second win over fences ,Power indicated afterwards. “Its much easier to ride a race than look at one. But Jeannie had never jumped a fence in public before and now she has ridden two winners. The plan is to continue pointing as the horse was bought for her”