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Barry O’Neill leads the way


Barry O'Neill

Barry O'Neill

Barry O'Neill


BARRY O’NEILL had a great weekend. On Saturday he won the famed Tetratema Hunters’ Chase Cup at Gowran, and he followed on Sunday with a treble at the Killinick Harriers event at Lingstown, a very strong meeting that attracted over 70 runners.

The Tetratema Cup is one of the most sought after trophies in the point-to-point world, and O’Neill was an all-the-way winner over the extended three miles on the hot favourite, Ferns Lock (1/4), trained by David Christie in Fermanagh for Ray Nicholas.

The horse has won five in a row, but Christie is by-passing Cheltenham until he is a bit more experienced, although he is certainly one to look forward to.

He won without breaking sweat, but it was a fine run in second for Lough Derg Spirit (28/1), ridden by Jack Hendrick (Mayglass) for Denis Murphy (The Ballagh), with the two times previous winner, Aloneamongmillions (11/2), third under Derek O’Connor.

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The Wexford connections totally dominated at Lingstown, winning all six races and filling most of the places.

Quite a few could end up in the sales ring at Cheltenham on Thursday evening.

O’Neill and Colin Bowe won the twelve-runner opening Tattersalls mares’ maiden with Mayor’s Walk (Walk in the Park), prevailing by three parts of a length and a head. Brian Dunleavy was second on Jasette D’Irelande for Rob James and his Matchmaker syndicate.

The ABP Slaney geldings’ race was more clearcut, with James Walsh scoring on Jalon D’Oudaries (No Risk At All) for Donnchadh Doyle, five lengths clear of Hell Hound for Tiernan Power-Roche and owner/trainer Harley Dunne, with Tommy Combats third for Jack Hendrick and Cormac Doyle.

The Padge Berry and Moorstown Stud five-year-old mares’ maiden was an easy win for O’Neill on Banprionsa (Kayf Tara) for Richard Black (Bunclody).

Jetaway to Getaway was second for Michael Murphy (Duncormick) under Michael Sweeney in a race where they finished well strung out.

The Ire-Well Pallets geldings’ race saw James Walsh and Donnchadh Doyle complete a double with Incognito Fatal (Network), a length ahead of O’Neill and Bowe’s Captain Butler after a good joust.

O’Neill completed his treble in the INSC and The Merry Elf five-year-old maiden aboard Lady in the Park for Tom Dreaper after a good battle with El Champo under Shane O’Rourke for owner/trainer Thomas Byrne (Kilmore).

The Rostoonstown Stud ‘Open’ over the famous banks course drew 13 runners and was fought out by two specialists, with Richard O’Keeffe’s Vital Island winning by five lengths under Tiernan Power-Roche, from James Kenny on his dad Liam’s A Rated.

Despite the onset of some rain in the afternoon, it was a very good day’s sport and all involved deserve great credit.

At Belclare in Galway, Donnchadh Doyle made it three for the weekend when his expensive purchase (€92k), Romeo Coolio (Kayf Tara), won the four-year-old maiden under Brian Lawless after making all.

There’s sure to be big sales interest in this one which was one of the few Wexford runners.

At the Kilworth and Araglen meeting at Ballyarthur near Fermoy, the four-year-old maiden was won by Finn Lough (Milan), owned, ridden and handled by Harley Dunne, taking full advantage when the two leaders fell two from home – Denis Murphy’s Jasmin Bellvue and Seán Doyle’s Long Draw.

Harley and Aisling Byrne got engaged last year at Finn Lough in Fermanagh, and the horse was named in honour of the event.

There was just the one Wexford winner at Kirkistown, Co. Down, on Saturday, with Bertie Finn (Oulart) scoring on Colin Bowe’s Tara Cove (Kayf Tara) by two lengths after taking it up entering the home straight.

This was the first of three weekend winners for the champion trainer who is on 20, ahead of Donnchdh Doyle who has 17 from just 39 runners.

There were some good placed runs, with Brian Dunleavy second in the four-year-old maiden on The Other Mozzie for Rob James, and Woodbrook was second for Ellen Doyle in the novice riders’ open.

There are four more meetings next weekend, at Portrush, Co. Derry, on Saturday, and at Ballyragget in Kilkenny, at Liscarroll, near Mallow, and at Durrow, Co. Offaly, on Sunday.