Codd and O'Keeffe find themselves in the wars at Limerick
It was a tough day at Limerick on Friday as both Seán O'Keeffe and Jamie Codd were injured in falls which will see them out of action for some time.
Codd got a nasty spill from Farclas in the Grade 3 Irish Independent hurdle which saw him airlifted to hospital.
Racing was delayed for more than half an hour as the stricken jockey was treated. The vastly experienced Codd is reported to have suffered rib and lung injuries and I wish him a full and complete recovery.
O'Keeffe was quick to experience the downside of the racing game as he fell on Liz Doyle's Crafty Power and suffered a possible concussion injury which will keep him out for a week or ten days at least, as confirmed by his dad, Jim.
'That's racing,' was his succinct comment after he had talked about all the excitement generated by Seán's big Leopardstown win the previous day.
Otherwise it was quite a good day on the track. Jonathan Moore won the opening maiden hurdle on Noel Meade's Melly And Me (5/4f).
Moore later tried to make all on his only other ride on John Clifford's Bazarov (12/1) in the two-mile five-furlong handicap hurdle, being caught late on by Philip Enright on Chosen Hour (20/1).
Barry O'Neill won the bumper in impressive style on the imposing track debutant Cobbler's Way (5/1), now trained by Henry De Bromhead.
O'Neill was renewing acquaintance with the horse as he had ridden him in a point-to-point at Dromahane when handled by Colin Bowe.
At Leopardstown on Friday, Seán Flanagan had little luck as he attempted to retain his Savill's Chase Grade 1 title with Road to Respect (9/4f). A dawdling pace packed up the field and Flanagan was lucky to survive a bad stumble approaching the second last and found it hard to get out in the straight. He did well to battle on for third as Kemboy (8/1) flew home for David and Willie Mullins.
J.J. Slevin and Flanagan finished second and third on two 20/1 shots, Mouse Morris's Foxy Jacks and Noel Meade's Diol Ker, behind Barry Geraghty on Joseph O'Brien's Malinas Jack (8/1) in the opening maiden hurdle.
The Festivals concluded on Saturday and Leopardstown ended on a very quiet note for Wexford connections. Limerick did not yield a winner either, with Barry O'Neill coming closest in the bumper, only beaten half a length on Paul Nolan's Latest Exhibition (16/1), by Noel Meade's Active Force (15/8f)..
The Festival action had begun on Wednesday with minimal Wexford interest at Leopardstown. At Limerick, J.J. Slevin got a rousing finish from Joseph O'Brien's Band of Outlaws (2/1) to overhaul Jonathan Moore on Noel Meade's Future Proof.
Seán Flanagan and a large Wexford contingent headed up to Down Royal and Flanagan got immediate payback when he took the opening beginners' chase on Noel Meade's former hurdler, Getawaykid (11/2), ahead of Barry O'Neill on Gordon Elliott's Grotesque.
O'Neill also got third in the Hunters' Chase on Elliott's Kruzhlinin, on which he has won several point-to-points this season already, and he was second in the bumper on Elliott's Braeside (6/1), well behind Meade's Valdieu.
There were two Wexford winners in the final Irish meeting before the Christmas break at Thurles - Barry O'Neill rode a good finish on Henry De Bromhead's Plan of Attack (7/2) to see off both Rachael Blackmore and Davy Russell by half a length and a neck, and then Jamie Codd had another bumper winner for Gordon Elliott, finishing well clear on Grand Mogul (11/8f).
Daryl Jacob signed off for the Christmas break with a nice winner at the televised Ascot meeting on Saturday week when he scored short head victory on 5/4 favourite, Kildisart, over the Noel Fehily-ridden Activial (5/2) in a €50,000 chase.
Jacob had a miserable day in the two Grade 1 races at the big meeting in Kempton on Wednesday, failing to finish in either.
The death occurred just before Christmas of Ger Murphy, a trainer based at Parknashogue Stud, Killenagh, Ballygarrett.
He and his wife, Sadie, ran a busy operation there in all aspects of the horse business, with Sadie being a noted carriage driver who took part in international competition.
Ger's last hurrah on the track nearly brought a shock result when his Tilly's Delight was second at 50/1 under J.J. Slevin at Thurles on November 8.
Ger was interred in Ballygarrett on December 23. Sympathy is extended to his wife Sadie, brothers Joe, Tom and Paddy, sisters Ena, Carmel, Mary and Bernadette, and other family members and his many friends. R.I.P.