Colin Bowe and Barry O’Neill reign again as point-to-point ends
COLIN BOWE had the final point-to-pointwinner of the season and is national champion trainer for the eleventh time, including ten without a break.
This winner put him on the 46 mark for the season, matching his best ever. He had his first winner in the 2007-’08 season and he is now on the verge of a major milestone as he is on a career total of 496, while he also had over 400 seconds.
Joint second is Donnchadh Doyle who had 25 winners from 78 runners; he is a neighbour of Bowe and began his career with him, learning from a master.
They once shared the title, in 2018-’19, on 32 winners each. The Doyle brothers (including Seán ‘Farmer’ and Cormac) have built up a massively successful operation at Monbeg, doing exceptionally well at the sales.
Seán is sixth in the table with 19 winners, just ahead of Gordon Elliott; Denis Murphy (Ballyboy, The Ballagh) is eighth with 15 wins, and Ellen Doyle (Coolgarrow, Enniscorthy) completes the top ten on eleven wins.
Riders who also now train, Harley Dunne and Rob James, plus Michael Goff and Cormac Doyle, make it into the top 20.
Barry O’Neill is champion rider for the seventh time, an unbroken run since he ended the long reign of Derek O’Connor and Jamie Codd in 2017.
He made a bit of history in 2021 when he became the first man to win all four regional titles in one season. His career total of almost 770 give him fourth place in the ranks of overall winners.
He is also Eastern champion with 28 wins, ahead of Rob James and Jack Hendrick, and the Northern champion with 28 wins, well clear of all rivals.
Oulart man Bertie Finn is second in the Under-21 riders’ race, three behind champion Dara McGill from Derry, and he seems asssured of a good future.
The final weekend of the season saw the Wexford dominance persist to the very end, and it will be particularly memorable for three jockeys who had their first career winners.
A number of other young riders were also in the mix.
It opened with day one of the Ballingarry meeting on Saturday, and there was strong Wexford interest, as usual, in the four-year-old maidens.
Two Harley Dunne-trained and owned horses fought out the finish of the four-year-old mares’ race, with 17-years-old Frankie Murphy frojm Skibbereen getting his first win by a neck on Breaking Silence (Doyen). Tiernan Power-Roche took second on Cant Touch This.
While Murphy is just starting off, Shane O’Rourke from Foulksmills has been around a long time and he steered Boys Will Be Boys (Valirann) to a length win in the auction maiden, for Garry Murphy (Tullicanna, Ballymitty); Black Occ, handled and trained by Matty Flynn-O’Connor (Bunclody), was second.
Ross Berry of Blackwater, son of former pointing champion John, had his third career win in a thrilling finish to the Open race when he shared the honours with Focus Point, a five-time winner this season for the Hyde family, dead-heating with Colin Bowe’s Stranger Danger (Sholokhov).
Both got past Barry O’Neill on the run to the line on David Christies’ s Bold Enough, an eight-time winner this season.
Seán Doyle (Monbeg) bagged the five-year-old geldings’ maiden with Moves Like Monty (Sageburg), ridden by Ross Sugrue.
There was not a major Wexford presence on day two at Ballingarry but there was a significant first-ever win for Sophie Carter, a native of Oxford, as she made almost all on Colin Bowe’s Croi Corcra.
Finally, to the last meeting of a long season at Clonakilty. Both four-year-old maidens came to Wexford as usual, continuing a season-long dominance to the very end.
The mares went to another first-time winner, 17-year-old James Cousins, having just his third ride. Chief Lady (Mahler) is handled by Rob James for his Matchmaker syndicate. Well done, James.
Second was Sean O’Rourke on Stopwouldya for Kieran Roche (Adamstown), and third was Barry O’Neilll on Bowe’s Chosen Bae.
The geldings’ race was won by Tiernan Power-Roche on Harley Dunne’s Marcus Furius; Dunne had a storming finish to the season.
Ross Berry also came good and had his fourth career win in the last race of the season, aboard Colin Bowe’s Seattle Seahawk (by Presenting).