MIKEY O'CONNOR is experiencing a fine point-to-point season and, following his two-timer at Ballynoe on March 27th, the Liscarroll native was the only rider to partner two winners at Sunday’s Duhallow Foxhounds meeting at Dromahane.
O’Connor will have attained immense satisfaction from his success aboard the gambled-on Nice To Meet (3/1 – 5/4) in the closing five-year-old and upwards adjacent hunts maiden as he trains the ex-hurdler for Greg Coleman from Cork city.
Nice To Meet, who was destined to finish second but for falling at the last in the Liscarroll winners contest ultimately won by Plan B last month, got into a lovely rhythm at the head of affairs and he led until overtaken briefly by the mare Churchtown Queen two out.
The winning son of Sans Frontieres was soon back in front and he was eased from over 50 yards out to beat Must Have Hope by four lengths.
“He didn’t deserve to fall on the holding ground at Liscarroll,“ disclosed O’Connor of Nice To Meet.
“We brought him up to Terence Leonard’s to loose school during the week and he was electric.
"I’d imagine that he will now run in a winners race.”
O’Connor, who was most meritoriously riding his 405th points winner, was earlier on the mark aboard the aforementioned Terence Leonard’s Moviddy (4/1) in the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.
Moviddy, having finished third to Annie Magic on her debut in a competitive Nenagh maiden last month, was bounced out in front and she gave a breath-taking display of fencing.
The winning daughter of Urban Poet duly defeated Masked Artist by a length in the style of a probable track winner.
Newcastlewest-based owner/trainer Leonard reported of the six-year-old Moviddy, whom he bought as a foal.
”We were very confident coming here and most of the progeny by this mare’s sire Urban Poet like good ground.
"I like my horses to be ridden prominently and this mare will probably now be sold.“
It Came To Pass (4/5) recorded his second success in as many Sundays’ at this same venue by winning the four-runner open with his handler Eugene O’Sullivan’s 17-year-old nephew Alan O’Sullivan, much to the dismay of the 14 bookmaker present.
The former Cheltenham Foxhunters winner It Came To Pass moved into the lead four out and, having thrown a spectacular leap at the penultimate of the 14 obstacles, he was always holding runner-up La Feline thereafter with the winning margin being a length.
Handler O’Sullivan remarked: “I’m really delighted for Alan [O’Sullivan].
"He rides very well and he has had to wait for his start, but he is making plenty of use of it now.“
The Lombardstown-based handler then continued: ”It Came To Pass will now be entered for the Jack Tyner Memorial Hunters Chase at Cork on Easter Monday and it’s a pity that his owners’ Alurie and Gerald O’Sullivan couldn’t get over from Manchester for today’s race.“
La Feline’s rider Derek O’Connor didn’t leave empty-handed as he struck earlier aboard Sam Curling’s Susie Miller (5/2) in the mares’ winners of two.
The hooded Susie Miller was patiently-ridden and, despite being only fourth approaching the last, she forged past recent Gain Mares’ Final runner-up Fiery Brown inside the final 50 yards to score by a snug half-length in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.
There was a stewards’ enquiry called, but there was no alteration to the result.
Susie Miller is now likely to contest the mares’ point-to-point bumper at Tipperary next month.
Colin Bowe’s Castleward (3/1) stepped forwards from his third-placed debut effort behind An Tobar at Ballyvodock in January by coming home as he pleased under Barry O’Neill in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Castleward, owned by Michael Cave from Co Down, led or disputed the running from the fifth fence and he bounded clear after three out to beat newcomer Galloping Pride by eight lengths.
“He has improved from Ballyvodock, he loved the good ground and he will now go to a sale,“ said Bowe of Castleward, who is out of a half-sister to Clondaw Warrior.
The Harley Dunne-trained Genietoile (4/1) atoned for falling two out on his debut at Tinahely last month by capturing the four-year-old maiden in the hands of Tiernan Power Roche.
The French-bred Genietoile led or disputed the running practically throughout and he stayed on powerfully on the flat to edge out newcomer El Saviour, who blundered at the last, by a length.
This Wednesday, the traditional Easter week Inch meeting takes place on a new course at Ballyknock (1.30pm start).