Thursday 22 February 2018

Irish point-to-pointers continue to enjoy great success

Faugheen, with Ruby Walsh up, jumps the last on their way to winning the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown
Faugheen, with Ruby Walsh up, jumps the last on their way to winning the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown

Richard Pugh

Irish point-to-pointers continue to enjoy great success this season, with Faugheen, Boston Bob and Shaneshill all recording victories in Grade One races at the Punchestown Festival.

Former pointers have now won over 900 races this season and could break the 1,000 barrier before the end of May at this rate. The previous best was 867 last season.

This weekend sees Taylorstown get the action under way for the Newry Hunt. Denis Murphy saddles Mahler Spirit in the opener and though he has unseated twice, he has shown form and could collect.

Vincent Halley has two live chances here with Boxing Along in the Open and Youki San in the mares' maiden, while Martin Cullinane's For A Change could take the concluding winners' race if he returns to his best form.

At Athlacca, Charlie Swan's Three Muskateers, which was second at Dromahane recently, is the choice in the opener, while Louis Archdeacon could take the five-year-old maiden with Capard King, which was a close second last time.

Ken Budds saddles Presenting Lisa in the mares' maiden and she ran well at Dromahane to finish third last time in a decent maiden.

The cross-country course here is a highlight of the meeting and in the geldings' race Long Strand for Evanna McCutcheon could score, while Nhakira could double up for the yard in the mares' equivalent.

At Ballindenisk tomorrow, Timothy Townend's Jack Overbury could be the one to follow having been second on a few occasions in maidens already this season.

Denis Leahy could have a good afternoon with Desertmore View in the winners' race and Vodka Island in the mares' maiden, while in the Open Fence Me In for Tom Keating could be ideally suited by this course and will take a lot of beating.

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

1 Jamie Codd leads Derek O'Connor by just one winner with 12 racing days left. Codd will miss a day due to suspension, so this title looks finely balanced on a score of 78-77.

HORSE TO FOLLOW

Pylonthepressure was an impressive winner at Laurencetown. He is by Beech Brook Stud sire Darsi and made all for an impressive success for trainer Donnchadh Doyle.

WEEKEND SELECTION

Tom Keating's Fence me In looks the part in the Open at Ballindenisk

WEEKEND FIXTURES

today

Limerick (F) at Athlacca 4.0

Newry (H) at Taylorstown 2.0

tomorrow

Sligo (H) – CANCELLED

United (F) at Ballindenisk 2.0

Irish Independent

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