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Clonakilty Point-to-Point

Top local horse breeders, the Dillon Family, will be guests of honour at the Clonakilty Point to Point races on Sunday, May 22, at Inchydoney.

At the recent event launch, the races committee made a presentation to the Dillons to mark their great success as breeders of  Conflated, winner of  the €250,000 Irish Gold Cup in February.

Barry and Terry Dillon and their father Kevin (well known in the dairy industry as the former chief executive of the Irish Holstein Friesian Association, and a successful dairy and pig breeder) bred Conflated on their farm at Ballymacowen, Clonakilty.  Conflated is now the winner of over €300,000, trained by Gordon Elliot and ridden by Corkman Davy Russell, and was beaten narrowly in the Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree.

Back next Sunday after a two-year break due to Covid-19, the Carbery Hunt Point to Point  at Inchydoney is the last chance to enjoy top class racing over the jumps in West Cork until next autumn, following the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee announcement  that the two-day South Union Foxhounds fixture at Kinsale has been cancelled.

The six-race programme  on the Inchydoney Island farm of Leslie Beamish  includes a four-year-old maiden, a winners of one, and an open chase.

The Clonakilty committee jumped at the chance to celebrate the Dillons' achievements, the latest  West Cork connection with the top flight of National Hunt racing.

Perhaps the biggest of all those connections was the Clonakilty-owned  (by Lisselan Farms, only a half-mile from the Dillons' farm) Imperial Call winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1996, trained by Fergie Sutherland.

Three years later, Imperial Call made a dramatic winning comeback in the Heineken Gold Cup, trained near Clonakilty by 23-year-old Ray  Hurley, who will be the official starter at the local point to point on May 22,  and is a valuable longtime member of the races commitee.  Ray also trained Cheltenham winner Whyso Mayo.

Also on the races committee is former top local trainer Thomas O'Leary, handler of Grade 1 horses such as Newmill and Scarthy Lad.

Nearly 20 years ago, the Dillons purchased a filly foal called Saucy Present from Yellowford Farm in east Cork. "We liked the family", said Barry Dillon. Now Conflated, Saucy Present's  colt foal by Yeats, born in February 2014,  has  put the Dillons on the map.

Conflated  descends from Saucy Vic, an unraced mare which is the  source of several Grade 1 winners.  Saucy Present (which has only one eye, and is unraced) has produced only three colts, which also include Ordinary World (sired by Milan),  a Grade One chaser when trained by Henry De Bromhead.

The Dillons are eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale, which will include their three year old Walk in  the Park sister to Conflated.

Pictured above: To mark their achievement as breeders of Conflated, winner of the €250,000 Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in  February, the Dillon Family of Ballymacowen, Clonakilty, will be guests of honour at Clonakilty Point to Point at Inchydoney on Sunday May 22. Making a presentation at the recent Point to Point races launch were from left, committee members Leslie Beamish (races landowner); Colm Quirke, treasurer;  Barry Dillon; races committee chairman Jim Kenny; clerk of the course Consie Keohane; and races secretary Pádraig Ahern.
Picture by George Maguire

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