OVER THE Winter it has been most heartwarming to see the dominance of Irish jockeys on the national hunt stage in Britain. With Tony Mccoy leading the way with an astonishing 195 winners, our own Tom O'brien and Daryl Jacob have had great years with 72 winners apiece to their credit.
This puts both of them in joint fifth place in the British jockeys' title ahead of such household names as Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh who ride for two of the biggest and most powerful stables in Britain. O'brien and Jacob, hailing from the parishes of Cloughbawn and Davidstown, must be close to securing one of these big jobs themselves some day.
But in the mean time I'm sure that they are more than happy to be riding so well, keeping the name of Wexford to the fore and wishing that they can have some further success at Fairyhouse, Aintree or Punchestown over the coming month if they get the opportunity.
REVIEW OF THE WEEK
The Flat season really hit the world with a bang last weekend with the Dubai World Cup festival at Meydan. For the first time in a long time, Aidan O'brien sent a really strong team to challenge for the huge prize money on offer, and his hopes rested on 'So You Think' in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup. This New Zealand-bred horse flattered to deceive yet again on another big stage when going off the hot favourite, as he faded into fourth place under Joseph O'brien.
O'brien also saw his Breeders Cup winner, 'St Nicholas Abbey', just shaded out of it in the Group 1 Turf Classic when second under Joseph O'brien, having also gone off as favourite. He did have better luck when taking the UAE Derby, a Group 2 event, with 'Daddy Long Legs', ridden by Colm O'donoghue.
On the home front, O'brien Senior and Junior joined forces at Leopardstown on March 28 to win with 'Robin Hood' in a handicap at 10/3 favourite.
While O'brien was concentrating on an international stage, Jim Bolger was really making hay on the domestic front when finishing off the Dundalk all-weather Winter season when winning with 'East of Tara', a five-year-old mare by 'Barathea'.
Turning his sights onto the opening of the flat turf season, he also won with 'Dawn Approach', a two-year-old by 'New Approach', at The Curragh on March 25.
The Coolcullen bandwagon then moved onto Leopardstown on March 28 where he saddled two winners in the shape of 'Light Heavy', a three-year-old colt by 'Teofilo', and 'Vastitas', a four-year-old filly by 'Green Desert'.
The week's haul was completed by 'Ri an Domhnaigh' who won at Limerick on March 29, with all of these winners being partnered by stable jockey, Kevin Manning. It's a stable in form so keep an eye on it!
BETWEEN THE FLAGS
With most of the local yards on duty in Monksgrange on March 25, Denis Murphy took the opportunity to send a small but select team to Liscarroll in Co. Cork for the Duhallow Foxhound meeting.
Using the services of jockey Declan Queally, they joined forces to take the opening four-year-old maiden with 'Hannibal The Great', a four-year-old by 'Milan'.
This horse, owned by the trainer's sister, Bernadette, dead-heated with 'Mcllatton' after both of them had a stroke of luck, with the home and hosed 'First To Boogie' falling at the last.
With point-to-point racing in Co. Wexford now over for the season, it's only April after all, the south-east is still on the go and racing moves to Co. Carlow on Sunday next with the Carlow Farmers meeting at Borris. This is the second year at this track and racing begins at 2 p.m. on Easter Sunday.