THERE was some stellar fare at Sunday’s United Foxhounds point-to-point meeting at Ballindenisk.
James Hannon edged into a one-winner advantage over Chris O’Donovan in the southern regional riders championship by teaming up with Thurles-based handler David Murphy to collect the closing winners of two aboard Rocconrockall.
The seven-year-old maiden Rocconrockall (9/4 – 5/4), who finished third on his points debut at Dromahane in early April, disputed the running with Koyote and Marriage Ring until the latter dropped away from three out.
The ex-hurdler Rocconrockall was clearly travelling best in the lead after the penultimate of the 12 obstacles and he duly defeated this season’s Gain Mares’ Final winner Koyote by four lengths.
Handler Murphy, originally from Fermoy, reported of his father Jeff’s Rocconrockall in whom Kevin Kenneally also holds an interest.
”He’s a horse that needed to get his head in front and there should be plenty more in him. He will probably go back to the track now.“
The aforementioned Chris O’Donovan, who actually finished second aboard Koyote, was earlier on the mark as he combined with Declan Queally to capture the five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden, the race that attracted the biggest field of the afternoon in 15 runners, aboard newcomer Lord Snootie (2/1 – 7/4).
The five-year-old Lord Snootie, a son of Malinas that sports the Lord Schnitzel colours of German owner Klaus Koentopp, made his way to the front from the fourth fence and he was never headed thereafter as he asserted from after two out to beat the promising Powers Dilemma by eight lengths.
“That was brilliant, he’s a very good jumper that we really fancied coming here and he will probably now go to the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham sale that will take place in Newmarket later this month,“ reported Queally of Lord Snootie, who was sourced on owner Koentopp’s behalf by Galwegian Tom O’Grady.
There was a real family success in the five-year-old and upwards confined hunt maiden as Kilavorilla, Ballynoe-based owner/trainer Tommy Hurley sent out Community Rebel (2/1) to oblige in the hands of his son Johnny Hurley.
Community Rebel, having finished third on two previous occasions this year, picked up the running after the second last to dispense with favourite Samos Island by four lengths.
“He has had a couple of quick runs and we will probably leave him out to grass now,“ said the elder Hurley of Community Rebel, the initial winner that he has supplied his son with.
“He jumps banks for fun and we will probably go that route with him next season.“
Barry O’Neill dominated the remainder of the meeting by partnering a three-timer and the reigning champion rider signed off by most meritoriously recording his 700th points success aboard David Christie’s Some Man in the open (4/6), much to the dismay of the 12 bookmakers present.
Some Man, this season’s current leading horse with six victories now to his credit, eased to the front at the second last to account for long-time leader Rose Of Coolbally by a snug two lengths.
“I have not trained too many horses with his turn of foot, he has an electric turn of foot and the aim is for him to be the champion horse of the season,“ said Fermanagh-based handler Christie of Some Man, owned by bookmaker Ray Nicholas.
The Co Wexford rider recorded his middle success of the afternoon aboard the Willie Murphy-trained Miss Mae West (11/4) in the second division of the five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden.
Miss Mae West, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner An Cathaoir Mor, put some previously uninspiring efforts behind by making virtually all the running to see off Ciaran Fennessy’s charge Blooming Fortune by two and a half lengths.
O’Neill instigated his hat-trick aboard the Colin Bowe-trained Lunar Display (3/1 – 5/2) in the second division of the four-year-old maiden. The Oldcastle debut third Lunar Display made his way to the front after the second last and he then held on grimly as the line approached to thwart newcomer Isle Of Gold by a neck in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.
The absent Bowe was actually responsible for two winners as he also struck with Ballabawn (5/1) in the first split of this same contest.
The Soldier Of Fortune-sired Ballabawn stepped up from his third-placed debut effort at Kirkistown in February by benefiting from a well-judged frontrunning ride from James Kenny to dispose of Mikey Tobin’s mount Imperial Assassin by two and a half lengths.
The Denis Prendergast-trained Gonedairy (3/1) stepped up from her second-placed effort at Bartlemy the previous Sunday by making the best of her way home from two out with Liz Lalor to eclipse Lady Violet by two and a half lengths in the first division of the mares’ maiden. Gonedairy is owned by Hilary Lalor from Ballacolla and her husband Joe Lalor is actually a cousin to the winning rider.
Next Sunday, the Carbery Foxhounds race at Inchydoney (2.30pm start)