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Report | Farmacaffley 22nd February 2020

Barry O’Neill hit full stride at Farmacaffley as he recorded a four-timer, with his opening victory coming aboard the Marshall Watson-trained Danjaman in The Mullan Family confined hunt winners.

Sporting the colours of owner Noel Collins, the son of Dansant stormed clear of Boogily Lane in the closing stages to win by four lengths, with the pair the only finishers from a line-up of four starters.

“He loves bottomless ground. We might go for another winners’ race as he hasn’t had much practice and we might then go to Downpatrick for the Hunter Chase,” said Watson.

O’Neill was credited with his second success of the afternoon when Winged Leader landed the Armagh Construction Ltd open for David Christie, while carrying the colours of owner John Hegarty.

The six-year-old, who was following up his recent success at Kirkistown, ran out an impressive six-length winner over Bridgets Pet, a horse seven years his senior.

“He is a year stronger and really makes a difference here. Last year he just weakened up the hill. Today in tougher ground he was stronger. We will look at the Hunter Chase on St Patrick’s Day, or the one in Downpatrick the week after, it will be up to the owners where they want to go,” said Christie.

The Wexford native was back in the winner’s enclosure when scoring in the WHR Accountants winner-of-two aboard On The Sod to complete a double for David Christie.

The victory, which saw the son of Ask get the better of Oldtown runner-up Call It Time, marked the eight-year-olds third success between the flags, while also preserving his unbeaten record.

“He will go for another one of these winner races on soft ground. We won’t be going to quick ground at the end of the season, but if there was a hunter chase that came up left-handed, we will go for that,” said Christie.

Westy Fox recorded a promising victory in the Philip White Tyres six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden, forcing Duckphil to settle for second position for the second year in succession at the fixture, while also completing O’Neill’s four-timer.

Owned by the Knockalough Syndicate, the son of Westerner had come to grief at Kirkistown in November but ensured he made no mistakes this time round, to come home one-length in front of his rivals.

Tom Dreaper, son of the winning handler Jim, said: “He will stay point-to-pointing. The owners are all from the Drogheda area and it is their first winner with their first horse which is brilliant.”

The George Stewart-trained Ringneill justified her odds-on favourite tag when she easily denied long-time leader Deo Bellator by seven lengths in the Donnelly Brothers Dungannon five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden.

Mark O’Hare guided the daughter of Flemensfirth to victory providing him with his first winner in 2020, the victory also meant that he has now ridden a winner in four decades.

Winning rider O’Hare said: “She deserved that, and she quickened up very well to be fair to her.”

It was day to remember for 18-year-old Conor Rabbitt as Ranieri provided him with his first career success in the McKinney Motors five-year-old geldings’ maiden, with the Galway native having only had his first ride in points last Saturday at Oldtown. 

The Warren Ewing-trained daughter of Westerner battled hard in the closing stages of the contest to get up by a neck beating the favourite Bold Pimpernel in the process.

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