Champions Crowned | Fourth straight national title for O'Neill

Barry O’Neill has become only the second rider since our records began in the mid-1950’s to win four consecutive national titles, after he was announced as the champion point-to-point rider for the foreshortened 2019/20 season.

A total of 42 winners left him with almost double the number of victories of his nearest rival, former champion Jamie Codd, as he adds to his titles from 2017, 2018 and 2019.

His fourth title defence had got off to a good start with an opening weekend four-timer at Castletown-Geoghegan, and once re-establishing his position at the top of the leaderboard in late October, it has largely been a case of plain sailing for the Wexford native.

The Castletown four-timer was one of two fixtures this season that he rode four winners at, as he repeated the feat at Farmacaffley in February, an afternoon that also helped him on his way to one of two regional titles that he also picks up.

He wins the Northern title for the second time in his career, whilst he also adds a fourth Eastern award to his title hauls, sharing that prize with Jamie Codd this season.

Those 42 winners from a total of 130 rides, leaves O’Neill with a standout 32% strike rate for the season, his best ever to date, with a further 38 of his rides seeing him finish in the frame, ensuring that remarkably over 60% of his rides this season finished in the prize money.

The reigning champion handler, Colin Bowe, remained his chief supporter, as the Milestone Stables operator, one of 11 individual handlers that he rode a winner for, supplied him with over half of his victories, with David Christie responsible for a further eight winners.

Unsurprisingly with so many of his winners coming with Bowe, the majority of them were recorded in maiden races, 14 of which were in the four-year-old age group, including aboard three of the ten top sellers at public auction, in Amarillo Sky (£280,000), Fiston Des Issards (£255,000), Gerri Colombe (£240,000).

In addition to his 42 success in the pointing fields, O’Neill also recorded eight victories inside the rails, including guiding David Christie’s Dylrow to a notable success in the Down Royal Hunter Chase on St. Stephen’s Day.

The curtailment of the season did prevent the Kiltealy native from reaching the 600-winner milestone, as with a current career total of 591 career winners between the flags, he is just nine short of that marker, whilst the honour of becoming the third most successful rider in point-to-point history is also closely within his grasps at 602 winners.

Jamie Codd jumped back into the second spot this season, having finished last season in fourth on the leaderboard, whilst Derek O’Connor once again filled the final spot on the podium.

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