Last Sunday the County Roscommon Hunt held its 6th autumn Point to Point at Lisbride and the meeting was run off on perfect jumping ground in fine weather.
Athlone native and English based conditional jockey Tom Malone paid a flying visit to commentate on events at Lisbride. Tom also works on Attheraces on TV and was on duty there last Friday. He also co-presented at this year’s Lester Awards Ceremony. The recipients of these jockey awards, called after the great Lester Piggott, are selected by their peers.
Based with David Pipe Tom has ridden 26 winners for the Pondhill team on horses such as Dunbrody Millar, Bright Approach bred in Dysart outside Mullingar, Locksmith, Imperial De Thaix and former pointer Milton Des Bieffes. Tom enjoyed his trip home to call home the six races at Lisbride and after the great job he did on Sunday he will certainly be in demand again.
On to the racing itself and in the first race sponsored by Archstone in Donamon for 4-Y-O Maidens was won in fine style by Definite Appeal, owned and trained in Carlow by Willie Murphy and ridden by champion jockey Derek O’Connor. This son of Definite Article fell on his only run to date but stayed on his feet this time to win by 4 lengths from Philip Dempsey’s favourite Turn Up ridden by Simon McGonagle. Seven of the 12 starters finished the race which may turn out to be a very good pointer for the season ahead. Murphy says he will now put the gelding away until the spring as he needs good ground.
The Adjacent Hunt 5-Y-O + Maiden sponsored by The Joint Masters and saw 17 of the 25 entries turn up and the winner was trained by Dot Love near Mullingar. However it was the stable’s 2nd choice that provided young Aaron Murphy, brother of Dot’s assistant trainer Ciaran, with his first winner in shape of Green Wellies at 8/1. Aaron had ridden in 14 races and everybody was delighted to see him break his duck at the 15th attempt. The Cecil Ross trained and Dan Foster ridden Lavender Lily was 2nd and Derek O’Connor was 3rd on Fortis Et Fidelis. There were a couple of locally owned horses in this race and Brian Keenan’s Flash Freddie had a nice introduction to this season in 5th and Amazing View owned by a few prominent men around Roscommon town ran out when in contention at the 6th.
The winners of 2 sponsored by Pat Hughes & Co., Auctioneers of Roscommon was won by Aboo Who at nice odds of 3/1 for all of you who took the advice of this column last week. Ridden by Andy Duff this Miss Florida mare trained by Denise Foster won her 3rd race in a row for owner Lee Conetta beating Michael Hourigan’s Toby Jug with Derek O’Connor on board by ½l in a driving finish with Aboo Lala 10l back in 3rd.
The Open Lightweight sponsored by the SMC Group provided the highlight of the day when the 13-Y-O Arctic Copper ridden by the champion lady jockey Claire McMahon had his 3rd win on this track. David Christie’s 13-Y-O son of Montelimar was winning the George McCourt Memorial Cup for the 3rd year in a row for the owners The Foxhunter Syndicate from Enniskillen who had a nice touch at 2/1 into 5/4. Kniaz ridden by Simon McGonagle was 2nd and Ballintue Road 3rd beaten 3l and ½l.
This great servant has won 13 of his 19 races between the flags and was out of the money only once, in his first race in Castletowngeoghan in 2005 when he pulled up. A winner of a bumper, 2 hurdles and 4 chases Arctic Copper was the bridesmaid to such great horses as Native Upmanship 3½l, Flagship Uberalles 6l, Edron Bleu a head and the great Moscow Flyer before he went pointing. He was trained by Noel Meade and ridden mainly by Paul Carberry on the track.
In the Mares Maiden sponsored by Sean Mulryan of Ballymore Homes Clan Music didn’t turn up and as advised last week Gordon Elliott’s Dolly Dagger at 5/2 gave Simon McGonagle compensation and his first winner of the day beating Accordian Opera by 3l with Derek O’Connor in the plate. Burren Starlight was 5l back in 3rd for Clare trainer Donie Hasset
In the final race sponsored by Kepak, Athleague Cecil Ross’s Our Eric, 3rd on his debut in Ballinrobe, showed the expected improvement forecast here last week and won at 7/2 under Dan Foster by ½l from Blues Trail ridden by Derek O’Connor with Howareyayoungfella 8l back in 3rd. Compensation for the defeat of Lavander Lily in the 2nd for both trainer and jockey.
The grooms in charge were well looked after with a prize in each race sponsored by Peter Connor of Connor Meats, Toher, Ballinasloe and judged by Majella Shields.
In the race for leading rider there were 6 individual winners and Derek O’Connor with 3 second places carries a slight lead over Simon McGonagle who only had 2 second places into the next day. This competition is sponsored by The Railway Veterinary Clinic, Loughrea and will be decided at the Spring meeting next April.
Last seasons champion jockey Derek O’Connor moves on to 15 winners this season but Jamie Codd reduced his lead to 8 with a treble at his home meeting in Lingstown in Wexford.
A most enjoyable day’s racing was enjoyed by the large crowd at Lisbride and a huge thanks is due to the landowner Mr. Michael McSharry without whose kind permission this meeting could not have been held. The track at Lisbride is a very fair test of a horse and jockey and is developing into one of the finest point to point tracks in the country judging by the very favourable comments from all associated with the game in attendance on Sunday. Well done to the County Roscommon Hunt.
IN OTHER NEWS: Racing this weekend takes place at Maralin on Saturday, Dromahane in Cork on Saturday and Sunday and at Miltown, Kilkenny on Sunday.
On the track this week Alberoni owned by Eamon Flanagan of Ballybride, Roscommon and trained by Peter McCreery show that even at 11 years of age he still retains some of his flair when finishing 3rd to Merry Cowboy at Punchestown with Andrew Lynch riding. Watch him in the near future.
Good news for Leopardstown with the news that The Grade 1 Lexus Chase will be richest National Hunt Race of the season with the prize fund increased to a guaranteed minimum prize value of €200,000. Lexus Ireland confirmed that the new sponsorship deal will runs to 2009.
Finally to wish young Paddy Kennedy, broken leg, and Nina Carberry, fractured collar bone, well and a quick recovery following injuries received in the bumper at Punchestown when there was a 5 horse pile up after a horse clipped heels and came down. All the horses were unscathed.
If you have any suggestions or comments for the column please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org