Rocky’s Howya is one to follow on Sunday at Muskerry Point to Point

Rocky’s Howya is one to follow on Sunday at Muskerry Point to Point

Chris O'Donovan takes his second win of the day onboard Lord Schnitzel as he clears the final hurdle in the third race, The Chanceit.ie Open Lightweight Race at United Hunt Club, Watergrasshil, Ballindenisk Point-to-Point Races on Sunday 4th December 2022. Pic: Larry Cummins

THE annual Aghabullogue point-to-point meeting takes place under the auspices of the Muskerry Foxhounds at its’ traditional Dromatimore venue on Sunday. 

Proceedings commence at 12.30pm and the open lightweight promises to a fascinating contest with narrow preference for the Declan Queally-trained Rocky’s Howya.

The son of Ask, a former 111-rated hurdler, has been nothing short of a revelation since casting his attentions to the pointing sphere this season as he has won all three starts without being seriously tested. 

Rocky’s Howya started off by coming home as he pleased in an older horses’ maiden at the Ballycrystal fixture in Co Wexford in late October whilst he then showed that a testing underfoot surface holds no fears for him by beating Clonmeen to the tune of six lengths in a Rathcannon winners contest just a fortnight later on November 6th.

Chris O’Donovan was on board for those two successes and the Shanballymore native was once again in the plate when Rocky’s Howya brought up a hat-trick of victories by making all the running to see off Dul Ar Aghaidh by 29 lengths in a Boulta winners of two contest on December 18th.

Whilst Rocky’s Howya is unlikely to have things totally all his own way here on what will be his first start in open company, he’s still taken to continue in a triumphant vein.

In all probability, the long-absent Monalee will be the one to chase him home. Monalee needs very little introduction and the son of Milan was trained by Ballyhooley native Kevin O’Sullivan when making a victorious career debut with Derek O’Connor in a five-year-old geldings’ maiden at the now-defunct Templenacarriga circuit in January 2016.

Monalee was then purchased privately by Henry de Bromhead within a matter of days and he went on to win a Grade 1 Leopardstown novice chase for the Knockeen handler in addition to finishing in the frame at four consecutive Cheltenham festivals, running one of his best ever races when finishing fourth to Al Boum Photo in the 2020 renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

 Winning jockey Jack Hendrick, onboard The Doyen Chief on the run to the finish line to take a win by 2.5 lengths in the second race The Gallaghers Gastro Pub Maiden Race for 5yo & Upwards Geldings at Ballindenisk Point-to-Point Races on Sunday 4th December 2022. Pic: Larry Cummins
Winning jockey Jack Hendrick, onboard The Doyen Chief on the run to the finish line to take a win by 2.5 lengths in the second race The Gallaghers Gastro Pub Maiden Race for 5yo & Upwards Geldings at Ballindenisk Point-to-Point Races on Sunday 4th December 2022. Pic: Larry Cummins

Monalee, still in the same Barry Maloney ownership as de Bromhead’s 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo, has been unraced since finishing third to Presenting Percy in a two mile six furlong chase at Thurles in December 2020 and the 12-year-old should give a good account of himself here.

Handler Queally, in the midst of a purple patch at present, has excellent prospects of a double as his mare Fromheretoeternity looks the part in the winners of two.

The six-year-old mare Fromheretoeternity, owned by her joint-breeder Brett Merry, justified favouritism on her only start to date at Moig South on November 27th by making all the running to thwart Sophie Gold by one and a half lengths. The Doyen-sired Fromheretoeternity, who actually survived a final fence error on that occasion, should continue on her merry way here by defeating Dundaniel.

My Reprieve should prove worthy of support in the six-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden.

The Harry Kelly-trained My Reprieve, having finished fourth on her career debut at Ballyarthur last season, atoned for falling three out on her comeback run at Dromahane this November by chasing home Quarry Tiepy at Ballindenisk on December 4th.

My Reprieve was actually beaten a length on that occasion and it’s worth recalling that the aforementioned Sophie Gold was a further one and a half lengths in arrears in third spot.

My Reprieve appears to be still improving and she should attain her due reward by excelling from Ciaran Fennessy’s Mamaker, who was sent off favourite on her only outing to date when finishing third at Castletown-Geoghegan back in October.

Philip Fenton’s Bloomhill is the one for the ‘getting-out stakes’ in the closing six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden.

Bloomhill, a son of Gamut, has finished in the frame on his two outings to date as he came third on his debut in the Lingstown contest won by James Jet in late November whilst he then returned a somewhat fortunate second to Twoconduit at Boulta on December 18th. Bloomhill should go one better here by accounting for last season’s Tallow runner-up Flash Conroy.

Bella Noche possesses the best credentials in the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.

The Paul Power-trained Bella Noche hinted that she’s well up to winning a contest such as this by coming fourth to Cornamona at Boulta last month and she should build on that effort by disposing of Alo’s Vision.

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