Owing to the shortened season there was a three way tie for this year’s Western Champion. It was the Wexford trio of James Kenny, Rob James and Barry O’Neill who shared the title finishing on two winners each.
There were no fixtures in the Western Region during the Spring Season, all three meetings in this region took place during the Autumn with the last meeting held at Moig South in December.
From the 296 horses entered, there was 147 runners which resulted in 18 races and 15 riders were in the winners in enclosure.
It was James Kenny’s first region and point-to-point award, the Gorey native is a son of well known handler Liam Kenny.
James Kenny hasn’t looked back since joining the Colin Bowe team, who has been a big supporter of the young rider and provided him with his first leg of a double at Loughrea in October when guiding Tommy’s Oscar to victory in the five-year-old geldings maiden.
Kenny completed his double when winning the open lightweight aboard his father’s charge A Rated, who carried the familiar of colours of Patrick Redmond, the owner of Champion Chase winner Big Zeb.
Rob James who was winning this region for the second time also registered his two winners on the same card at Loughrea in October.
James’ first winner of the day came in the form of the Pat Doyle trained Glengouly who took the four-year-old maiden, carrying the colours of Mary Doyle.
Matt Collins provided the Wexford native with his second winner of the afternoon when taking the five-year-old and upwards mares maiden aboard Latino Fling.
Barry O’Neill achieved a feat which has not been done before when winning all four regions and being crowned leading rider in the same season.
O’Neill’s first winner in this region was provided by Imitation Game who landed the five-year-old and upwards mares maiden at Rathcannon for handler Richard Rath.
Colin Bowe provided the champion rider with his second winner in this region when winning the five-year-old geldings maiden aboard Sempione Park at Moig South.
Previous winners of this award include; Derek O’Connor (11 times), JT McNamara (10 times), Brian Hassett, Davy Russell, Enda Bolger, Timmy Murphy and Tony Martin just to name a few.