Doubles for Codd, James and Murphy
Killinick Harriers staged their re-arranged point to point meeting at Lingstown recently and the fine day and good racing attracted a very good turn-out for the final outing before Christmas, with over 90 runners lining up for the seven events.
Main points of the day were doubles for riders Jamie Codd and Rob James and trainer Denis Murphy, the return to action of 11 times champion, Derek O'Connor after a long injury lay-off, and the introduction of the refurbished banks course which is such a feature of the Tomhaggard venue.
Jamie Codd and Denis Murphy (Ballyboy, The Ballagh) pulled off a great double in both divisions of the financially important four year old Tattersalls Ireland maidens and these two are sure to attract big interest in the sales ring. Codd then dashed off to Navan to ride 'Samcro' to win the listed bumper for Gordon Elliott.
In the first, 'Minellafordollars' (Kings Theatre-Another Dollar), owned by Bernadine Rochford, made an impressive debut, going away to win by eight lengths from 'Lovely Schtuff', with Shane O'Rourke (Foulksmills) third on Vincent Devereux's 'Howitsdone'.
Codd and Murphy completed the double on 'Warthog' (Martaline-Shakira), owned by Alan Harte, which was always in control and built on his debut third.
Barry O'Neill had a blank day and his championship lead over Codd has been cut to three, 20 to 17.
Rob James initiated his double in the Wright Group Brokers Ltd five-year-old mares maiden aboard 'Gracemount' (Beneficial-Eyres and Graces), trained by Sean Thomas Doyle at Monbeg for JJ Kavanagh. In a first outing since last April, the winner was impressive.
James, from Tomona, Killanne, got his second in the concluding Inish Pebble Company Ltd race for older maidens on 'Sprintingforgold' (Gold Well - Annie Be Quick), trained at Monageer by James Doyle for the powerful Monbeg Syndicate.
He seemed to have lost his chance but recovered very well from quite a serious mistake four from home. Barry O'Neill was second on 'Ben Brody' for Sean Byrne, Athy.
Shay Slevin, who trains at Kiltrea, Enniscorthy, got off the mark for the season in the Keating Horse Transport open race over the famous banks course with 'Treo Eile' (Exit to Nowherep-Thistle Witch), in the colours of his wife, Elizabeth.
Ridden by Fermoy's Brian Lenihan, he was repeating his success of last March and will now head for one of the Banks races at the Punchestown Festival.
Jimmy O'Rourke was second four lengths back on course specialist, 'Theroadtocroker', for Denis Murphy.
The Kilkenny River Court Hotel five-year-old geldings maiden was significant for the return to the winner's enclosure points legend, Derek O'Connor, on 'Whatswrongwithyou' for Paurick O'Connor, followed home by John O'Connor on John Brennan's 'Major Shapes' and Shane O'Rourke aboard M.J. Berry's 'Sir Lonica'.
The Kilmore Potatoes Ltd winner-of-two saw Andrew Slattery's Dimple complete his hat-trick of wins under Liam Quinlan (Thurles), with Liam Kenny's (Craanford) 'Battle Anthem' best of the locals in third for the Orphan Girl Syndicate.
The course stood up very well after all the rain of the previous week, and all those involved with the fixture can take a well deserved bow.
Racing for 2016 concluded at Dromahane on Wednesday, December 28, and the new year begins at Boulta, East Cork, on January 1. Colin Bowe leads the trainers table with seven winners, one ahead of Denis Murphy, as the Wexford dominance is maintained.
A happy Christmas to all point to point people, and every good luck for 2017.
New Ross Standard