BARRY O’NEILL consolidated his grip on a sixth successive title with a treble at Ballindenisk on Sunday giving him four over the weekend, as he reached a milestone 700 winners in his glittering career.
And trainer Coin Bowe is also in an unassailable position to take his tenth title, including eight in a row, a remarkable domination.
O’Neill’s 700th win came on David Christie’s Some Man, a sixth win of the season for the likely champion horse. O’Neill rode his first winner in the 2006-’07 season and he has so far got 55 this season with a 27 per cent winning rate.
Colin Bowe brought his training tally to 40 and is assured of his tenth title as he is 16 clear of Sam Curling. This will be his eighth in a row, and he also won in 2010 and 2011.
In his career he has sent out 444 winners and 200 seconds. Both these men continue to show wonderful consistency and deserve more recognition in the county for their sporting achievements.
At Ballindenisk the four-year-old maiden was divided, and Colin Bowe won both with Ballabawn (Soldier of Fortune) ridden by James Kenny (Craanford) taking Division 1, giving him three for the weekend and 32 for the season.
O’Neill won Division 2 on Lunar Contact (Sea Moon) which pipped Isle of Gold for Harley Dunne and Denis Murphy by a neck, with Ioupy Collonges third for Michael Goff.
The five-years-old mares’ maiden was also divided with most of the Wexford runners going into Division 2 where O’Neill scored on Miss Mae West for William Murphy from across the border in Carlow.
The Wexford point-to-point yards won five of the seven races from an entry of over 70 runners at the Kildare Hunt meeting at Punchestown on Saturday, with James Kenny recording a double. In three of the four maidens Wexford not only won but supplied ten of the twelve places on offer.
Kenny caused a bit of a surprise in the opening four-year-old mares’ maiden when winning on Chosen Hero (Flemensfirth) for Colin Bowe, while top man Barry O’Neill came third on what most assumed was Bowe’s best, Shiroccosmagicgem.
Harley Dunne was second on Denis Murphy’s Theatrical Light.
Brian Lawless and Matthew Flynn-O’Connor kept up their successful partnership in the geldings’ race when Ittack Blue (Coastal Path) swept past O’Neill on Bowe’s Waspy to win by 16 lengths. Flynn-O’Connor also owns this one and it should be a big attraction at the sales.
Tiernan Power-Roche on John Berry’s Perfect Pupil and Kenny on Bowe’s Ideal Clermont filled the other places.
The five- and six-year-old geldings’ maiden was divided. Kenny completed his double on Lock Out (Watar), trained by his father Liam for Thomas Brennan, beating Derek O’Connor by five lengths.
Division 2 went to Captains Road (Doyen) under Harley Dunne for owner/trainer Denis Murphy, two lengths ahead of Henhouse, ridden by Luke Murphy for Cormac Doyle.
Barry O’Neill got on the board in the Farmers’ Hunt Race on Alpha Male for Peter Maher. Josh Berry was pipped in the novice riders’ open race on John Berry’s A Rated which is being kept busy, while Shane O’Rourke was second on Flyingatfify, two lengths behind Pearlofflorida under Clareman P.J. O’Neill.
The Laois Hunt raced at Stradbally and it was a great day for young Bertie Finn who rode a double, and Seán Staples also won two.
Finn won the five-year-old geldings’ maiden on Old Page for Meath trainer, Peter Flood, and won again on Good Source for David V. O’Brien.
Seán Staples also doubled up to bring his seasonal tally to eleven, on Clatterbridge for Louise Lyons from Kilkenny in the Adjacent Hunts maiden, and on The Forge Hill (Morozov) for Seán Doyle which finished alone after his only rival pulled up. Forge Hill is unbeaten in three runs at Stradbally.
Dan Nevin got second for Robert Tector in the concluding older geldings’ maiden.
Wexford riders won eleven races and the trainers collected eight.
There are just five meetings left in the season, three of them next weekend: at Ballingarry on Saturday and Sunday, and Inchydoney also on Sunday.
They race at Dromahane on May 28, and the season ends on the next day at Tralee.