Fresh from riding his 400th career point-to-point winner when enjoying a four-timer at Stradbally on Easter Monday, this season’s leading point-to-point rider Barry O’Neill continued his fruitful partnership with the season’s star point-to-point mare, as the pair ran out convincing winners of the Joseph O’Reilly Hunter Chase at Fairyhouse on Tuesday.
Drawn N Drank, one of the outsiders of the field, had taken the seven runners along in the early stages, before Maple Mons and Heaney took up the running after the first couple of fences. From that point, the pair disputed the advantage, setting a strong tempo, with one of the main market dangers Mount Colah never far away.
However, Sean McParlan’s charge, a former Listed winner in his prime, gave way approaching the home straight as the patiently ridden B L Swagger began to get closer, stalking the pace-setters on towards the third-last.
O’Neill sent David Christie’s charge into a clear advantage at the back of the penultimate fence, and the nine-year-old soon bounded clear of her rivals in a matter of strides.
Ultimately returning a clear-cut winner accounting for the Derek O’Connor-ridden B L Swagger by 12-lengths with Bellurgan Park runner-up Heaney a further 14-lengths back in third, the Great Exhibition mare was recording her third hunter chase victory of the season following victories at Wexford and more recently at Down Royal.
A winner of a mares’ open at Loughanmore four days earlier to record 12th success between the flags, her Fermanagh-based handler has insisted throughout the year that she is set to be put in foal this season and she is certainly going out on a high, well on-course to being crowned the champion point-to-point mare for the second consecutive year.
To view the full result, please click HERE.