Report | Castletown-Geoghegan 8th Oct 17

""He is a very genuine sort and I loved the way he picked up and went on in the closing stages.""

The 2017-18 Point to Point season started a day later than originally advertised with the cancellation of Toomebridge due to ground conditions handing the honour of hosting the season opener to the Westmeath Foxhounds at their long-standing track in Castletown-Geoghegan.

The reigning champion point-to-point rider Barry O’Neill started his season in style when registering a double. 

The Wexford native kicked off his season with success aboard the Colin Bowe-trained Napoleon Blue in the opening Tattersalls Ireland four-year-old maiden. The son of Beat Hollow had two decent placed efforts under his belt last season and came from well of the pace to pick up the running close home, denying Hitdroadjack by a head. 

A relieved Bowe said afterwards; ‘He had a lovely first run last season at Dawstown but was a little under the weather on his next outing at Inchydoney.  He is a very genuine sort and I loved the way he picked up and went on in the closing stages.  He will now head for the sales.’

O’Neill combined with another Wexford handler Johnny Fogarty to complete his double. Flash The Steel, who was last seen at The Pigeons in March when finishing fourth, appeared to take his summer well when landing the five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden by a length and-a-half from Scottshill.

A delighted Fogarty reported afterwards; ‘He is in great form and was a fresh horse coming here today.  We have always thought a lot of him and it was nice to see my mother Mary’s colour carried to victory.’

The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the locally owned and trained Presentingprincess who took the winners of two in an impressive fashion. 

The six-year-old mare was in a league of her own throughout as she set a relentless gallop which she maintained throughout denying her rivals any chance to land a serious challenge. Trained by Heather Kiernan, the secretary of the meeting, Presentingprincess returned 10-lengths clear of Senators Glory under Aaron Murphy.

An elated Kiernan stated afterwards; ‘We actually broke her as a three-year-old but let her off then as she wasn’t easy.  She won on her debut at The Pigeons last season but the ground didn’t really suit her the next day at Athlacca.  She seems to have really settled this season and is an exciting sort to have.’

Eighteen-year-old Adam Feeney recorded his first winner between the flags when scoring aboard the Garrett Ahern-trained Sweet Destination in the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.  Feeney is a son of point-to-point rider Tom Feeney and is now based with Cork handler Garrett Ahern. 

The daughter of Dubai Destination carried the colours of the The Unbelievables Syndicates which is made up of Brian Lynch and Cork Allstars Mick Malone, Teddy McCarthy and Tomas Mulcahy, two of whom were on hand to cheer in their winner. 

‘The experience on the track really helped her and Adam knows and gets on with her well,’ remarked Ahern. 

Michael O’Sullivan continued the run of first-time winning jockeys when he get off the mark aboard A Decent Excuse, a horse trained by his uncle Eugene O’Sullivan, in the open lightweight. The ten-year-old was returning to the flags for the first time since 2012. 

O’Sullivan was seen to good effect in the closing stages when getting up close home to deny Samanntom and Jamie Codd by three lengths.  A proud winning handler said afterwards; ‘I am delighted for Michael. He had a few rides for me last season and I am delighted to give him his first winner.’

It was a day to remember for young rider Ben Love as he also recorded his first winner between the flags when taking the concluding six-year-old and upwards maiden for novice riders aboard Cee Jay McBride

Love, an 18-year-old from Dunshaughlin is currently studying for his Leaving Certificate and rides out part-time for handler Gavin Cromwell.  Winning connections reported that the seven-year-old will remain pointing and is now to be aimed at a winners’ race.

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