Sunday’s Loughrea fixture proved to be a red letter day for novice rider Barry Stone, who booted home his first winner in division one of the Goffs UK Autumn P2P Sale four-year-old maiden.
The Wexford native, who was having just his eighth ride, positioned the debutant, Unexpected Depth, in mid-division, as the son of Shantou caught the eye travelling well down the back, before quickening up smartly in the home straight to win by two lengths over Pistol Whipped.
Trained by Mary Doyle for whom the winning rider works, the likeable sort was bought for €15,000 as a foal and connections eluded that the winner will now most likely be sold.
On a day which saw seven individual jockeys ride winners, Barry O’Neill continued to make his intentions to retain his champion rider’s title clear, when guiding home his fifth winner of the season. However Monsieur D’Arque was somewhat fortunate to take the second division of the Goffs UK Autumn P2P Sale four-year-old maiden for him, as Byrne of Monaseed crashed out at the last, when holding a slight advantage.
The Colin Bowe-trained winner was having just his second start, having finished fifth on his debut at Bellharbour last spring. Sporting the colours of the Milestone Racing Partnership, the son of Muthathir was always to the fore of proceedings and to his credit stayed on gamely to see-off Tomgarrow by five lengths.
“We probably had luck on our side today. This is a nice horse, the break has done him the world of good and he’ll be sold now,” said Bowe.
Rider/handler Declan Queally made the long trip from Waterford worthwhile when Baby Bee ran out the comprehensive victor of the Jim Derwin winner of one contest. Returning from a mammoth layoff of 464 days, this was quite a training performance as the winning mare came home virtually unchallenged.
Content to stalk the leaders for much of the contest, the seven-year-old hit the front turning in, before passing the post 12-lengths to the good over Tico Times. Owned by John Kiely of Military Road, Dungarvan, the winner is likely to stay point-to-pointing for the foreseeable future.
Time Is Honey certainly showed no ill effects from her last fence tumble at Toomebridge on the opening weekend of the season when taking the Bruce L Tilley Memorial five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden.
Trained by former rider Shane Byrne, for his partner Emma Fry, the Rajj mare showed a very game attitude to take the 14-runner contest.
Always up with the pace throughout under Harley Dunne, the winner battled gamely up the home straight to see-off Meadow View by half-a-length in a thrilling finish. “Harley (Dunne) felt that she learned a lot from her run last week. If she’s not sold now she will go for a winners’ race next,” said the winning handler.
Enda Bolger got off the mark for the season when taking The Pier Head Bar & Restaurant five-year-old geldings’ maiden, as Ray Barron, who has been busy internationally over the summer riding in The Gentleman’s Series, did the steering aboard his ex-track performer Different Spot.
The Stowaway gelding, second at Rathcannon on his debut last autumn, put two disappointing bumper runs behind him to win by three lengths. Sporting Bolger’s colours, the winner showed a nice turn off foot in the home straight, with a fine jump at the last ensuring victory from the staying-on Lisronagh Stone.
“He was a different horse back on better ground today,” said the winning handler. He’s my own and is from the family of Spot The Difference, so I’d love to keep him in the yard.”
Connections may already have the champion mares’ prize in mind for Sliabh Muire Lass, as she resumed her winning ways in the Renvyle House Hotel & Resort and MacDermot & Allen Solicitors open. In what looked a competitive ten-runner affair, the Derek O’Connor-ridden mare was given a patient ride before sweeping though to take up the advantage on the run to the last.
Carrying the familiar yellow colours of the Three Dudes Syndicate, the winner came home three lengths in front of last weekend’s winner Ourmanmassini. The Family of the late Michéal Brennan from Ballygar, Co Galway were on hand to greet the Paurick O’Connor-trained winner, as they still retain an interest in the seven-year-old following the passing of Michéal last year.
Paurick O’Connor enjoyed a double on the day at what would be one of his more local meetings, as the final six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden for novice riders, went the way off Doldrum Bay, with Eoin Mahon in the saddle.
Having previously raced under rules, the track recruit was making his debut between the flags and had little difficulty in seeing off the only other finisher, Niamh’s Oscar, by six lengths. Having travelled very smoothly into the contest from off the pace, the winner survived a slight scare at the last to win easily.
“There is a big syndicate of Beagh people involved in him. I think they are all here with their friends and families,” said O’Connor.