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Champions Crowned | Holycross Lito is Champion Mare

The Mares’ Open division did not really have the opportunity to hit full stride with just four of the scheduled nine races in the category taking place, but it is the winner of one of them races, Holycross Lito, who earns the title of Champion Point-to-Point Mare for the 2019/20 season.

Like the Hunter Chase prize, it is decided by the highest rating achieved, and Holycross Lito earned a rating of 107 for her one and only appearance between the flags this season, when she ran out a comprehensive winner at Loughanmore back in October.

Sean McParlan’s charge was appearing in the pointing fields for the first time in over two and half years and despite being pitched in against the reigning champion mare and joint-champion point-to-point horse, Longhouse Music, who had been sent off as an odds-on favourite, the nine-year-old was delivered from off the pace.

Once shaken up by Noel McParlan from the penultimate fence, she quickly picked up the odds-on favourite on the run the to the last, before impressively putting the race to bed with the minimum of fuss to win easily by six lengths.

That was her second defeat of Longhouse Music in what has proven to be a relatively light career for the now ten-year-old, as she had previously got the better of the former champion by a margin of eight lengths in a mares’ winner-of-three at Largy in April 2017.

The daughter of Beneficial was unlucky not to have previously earned the title, as in that sole previous season point-to-pointing, she earned what remains the third highest point-to-point rating which dates back to her two and a half length defeat of Cavite Beta, a win which saw her bring his three run winning streak to a close at Broughshane in April 2017.

Most notably, that success on her debut in open company, came just over two months after she had made her competitive bow in a mares’ maiden at Oldtown, before she then went on to open her account at Kirkistown, and add further successes in winners’ company at Maralin and Largy.

She was only denied the Champion point-to-point mare accolade in that remarkable debut season by Maple Mons, who put up the highest ever rated performance by a mare to win that years Joseph O’Reilly Memorial Hunter Chase at Fairyhouse.

The former champion Longhouse Music ends the season with the second highest rating for a mare, followed by Tom Shaw’s Chapter Two.
 

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