The strength of Wexford's dominance in the point-to-point arena was emphasised once again when proper racing returned for the first time since mid-December with special meetings for four- and five-year-olds at Mallow on Saturday and Tipperary on Sunday. Wexford connections were involved with eleven of the 16 winners.
There is really serious concern in the point-to-point community about the dire consequences that may arise if racing is not allowed to resume behind closed doors when the Government announces changes to the Level 5 Covid restrictions this week.
The feature unraced stake of the year, the Future Champion and Michael Fortune Memorial stake, would normally see a very large crowd in attendance at Enniscorthy greyhound track in anticipation of unearthing another star, but alas this is not possible in the current climate.
Paul Nolan, Davidstown trainer, bridged a ten-year gap when he scored his third Cheltenham Festival success with Mrs Milner (12/1) in the Pertemps handicap hurdle final by a comfortable five lengths under Bryan Cooper, and Nolan was not there to enjoy the victory first-hand.
Jonathan Moore was faced with the sort of decision no jockey would want to make at Cheltenham last Thursday morning when he ruled himself unfit to ride in two Grade 1 races, not having fully recovered from a fall at Naas the previous Sunday, and then he had to watch as both horses triumphed after similar impressive front-running displays.
Wexford jockey Rob James will not be able to ride or run horses as a trainer in point-to-points for four months and he will have to pay costs of €1,000 - this was the verdict of an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) hearing last Wednesday (10th) into his appearance in a five-year-old video on the internet showing him mounting a horse that had died, embroiling him in a media firestorm, including an avalanche of internet abuse.
It was a busy week which kicked off at Leopardstown on Monday where Camolin seven-pound claimer, James O'Sullivan, and Tinahely trainer Philip Rothwell combined to pull off a coup in a three-mile handicap hurdle with Siberian Star (20/1 in the morning and backed in from 13/2 to 4/1f on the track).
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