O'Neill widens gap
Champion bags four weekend wins
In the busiest weekend of the point-to-point season so far with four meetings, Barry O'Neill, champion rider for the past two years and current leader, had doubles on successive days in Co. Down and Limerick to stretch his lead to six, while Jamie Codd had three weekend winners and was also pipped in a couple of tight finishes.
The action began at Kirkistown, Co. Down, on Saturday and there were doubles for both O'Neill and Codd, with Rob James hitting the crossabar with three seconds.
O'Neill and Colin Bowe picked up their second four year old maiden in a week with an impressive 10 length debut success for the Gigginstown House owned Hell's Canyon (by Martaline). James was second on Warren Ewing's Favori De Champdou.
The Wexford duo had to wait until the fifth, the Mares' Winner of Two, to complete their double with Forth Worth Texas (by Gold Well). They had eight lengths to spare over Gold Time, ridden by Kevin Corrigan (Blackwater) for his brother, Martin.
Codd scored in the five year old geldings' maiden on Gold Des Bois for Peter Fahey (Kildare), and completed his double on Kruzhlinin in the Open race for Gordon Elliott, this one's 6th win of the season and second in a week for Codd. James was also second on Bowe's Goldazar in the older horses' maiden, behind Lough Derg Lyric.
At the Stonehall meeting in Co. Limerick on Sunday O'Neill scored another double and had a couple of seconds as well.
However, he missed out on a Wexford dominated four year old maiden. Simon Cavanagh (Mullingar) steered home the impressive Wide Receiver (by Sholokhov), for Cormac Farrell, at Ballypreacus, Bunclody, owned by Edgar Allen.
O'Neill was second on Colin Bowe's Premiumaccess, ahead of Jamie Scallan on Sean Doyle's Thechaseison, but he and Bowe went one better in the five year old mares' maiden on debutant Cool Dove (by Flemensfirth), and O'Neill completed his double in the five year old geldings' maiden on Offtheshoulder for Sean Doyle and Monbeg.
Jamie Codd had to wait until the last race at the Ward Union meeting at Old Bawn, North Dublin, to get a winner in the older geldings' maiden, on Denis Murphy's Mytermsoryours.
Codd came close to getting another couple of winners - he and Murphy were pipped by a head in the five year old geldings' maiden on Goodoldtimes after a thrilling duel, and Codd was second by a short head in the four year old maiden on Warren Ewing's Bold Assassin, behind Pat Doyle's Slip Road. Liam Kenny's Brother Byrne was third under Harley Dunne.
At Tallow in Waterford, Donnchadh Doyle scored for Monbeg with his first four year runner of the year in the opening maiden, Deploy The Getaway (out of Getaway) romped home by 20 lengths under James Walsh (Tinahely) from eleven rivals.
There were just two finishers from nine runners in the five year old geldings' maiden, Luke Murphy (Inch) coming home a long way clear on Richard Black's (Bunclody) Casey Jem, ahead of Liz Doyle's Gold Bandit under Jimmy O'Rourke, who also had a second in the older geldings' maiden on Roisin Hickey's Cotton Rock, just being caught on the line.
O'Neill is on 29 winners, six ahead of Derek O'Connor, with Codd and Rob James joint third on 18.
There are three meetings on Sunday - Avondhu Hunt at Fermoy, Kildare Hunt at Punchestown and North Tipp Hunt at Nenagh.
New Ross Standard