THERE was some ultra-competitive fare at Sunday’s Pigeon Hill & Carrigtwohill Point-to-Point meeting at Ballyvodock outside Midleton and Johnny Barry dominated the fixture by partnering a sparkling three-timer.
Barry signed off by combining with Kinsale-based handler Jason O’Reilly to collect the mares’ open aboard Getawayrooney (5/1), who recorded three consecutive victories during a brilliant 2020 campaign.
Having returned from a near two-year absence in early November, Getawayrooney stepped forwards from her third-placed effort behind La Feline at Corbeagh House last month by making the best of her way home from the third-last of the 13 obstacles and Carrig Wells attempted to mount a challenge on the run to two out.
The patiently-ridden runner-up Fromheretoeternity however moved into second after this penultimate obstacle, but Getawayrooney tenaciously asserted on the flat to score by one and a half lengths. Carrig Wells meanwhile returned a further four lengths adrift in third spot.
“She’s a mare that has come back from a leg injury," reported O’Reilly of Getawayrooney, owned and bred by Reenscreena native Michael O’Neill. “She would have hated the ground in Corbeagh House, but I knew coming here today that she was the mare to beat if she was back to the level that she was at over two years ago.
The Conna native instigated his hat-trick by combining with Maike Magnussen to collect the five-year-old mares’ maiden aboard newcomer Bridget Mary (5/1).
A Sholokhov-sired daughter of the late Billy Harney’s former five-time winning mare Leanne, Bridget Mary was engaged in a ding-dong tussle with favourite Right Tempo from two out with the eventual winner shading the verdict by a short head in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.
“I’m delighted to win with his mare and she’s a lovely mare, whose dam was a really good sort," said Magnussen of Bridget Mary, owned by the six-member Adelmi Syndicate.
Magnussen trains from the Templemore yard that Billy Harney enjoyed such terrific success from. It’s entirely fitting that two of Harney’s daughters Linda and Rachel are involved in the Adelmi Syndicate with the pair being present to join in the post-race celebrations.
Magnussen went on to post an initial career two-timer by providing rider Barry with his remaining success aboard Busty Boy in the winners of two, much to the dismay of the 18 bookmakers present.
Victorious on his previous start at Turtulla on January 15, Busty Boy arrived from mid-division to lead from two out en route to disposing of Olivia Hegarty’s Sir Rock by three lengths.
“Busty Boy is coming on the whole time and I’m delighted that he has won again today. This is his third victory of the season," said Magnussen of Busty Boy, whose Holycross-based breeder Thomas Maher was incidentally present.
Declan Queally is experiencing a terrific season with his team of pointers and the Cappagh-based operator struck yet again by saddling Ismael (6/4) to record a breathtaking debut success in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden, the race that attracted the biggest field of the day in 15 runners.
The Coastal Path-sired Ismael was always positioned at the head of affairs and he forged clear from three out under Chris O’Donovan to dismiss John Murphy’s grey Syracus Du Houx by 12 lengths in the style of a horse that we will be hearing a lot more about.
“He’s a beautiful horse that’s a real good jumper and his work has always been very impressive," said Queally’s son and namesake of Ismael, in whom Comeragh native Joe Walsh also holds an interest. “We bought him at the Goffs Land Rover sale as a three-old and he will probably now be sold."
Queally went on to complete an across-the-card double as his Doyen To Win was on the mark in a Naas handicap hurdle later in the afternoon.
There was a popular father and son success in the five-year-old and upwards adjacent hunts maiden for novice riders as the seven-year-old mare Roped In (evens – 4/5), who was previously placed four times on the track, made a winning points debut under her Walshtown-based handler Donie Murphy’s son James.
Roped In eased into fourth spot after three out and she took the measure of Down The Inner in the closing stages to score by a half-length. Roped In will possibly now go for a winners race.
There was yet another family victory in the closing six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden as 19-year-old Dan Hyde, a second-year engineering student in Trinity College, partnered an initial points winner to supplement his two-track successes aboard his grandfather Timmy Hyde’s Focus Point (2/1). The Borris House runner-up Focus Point jumped soundly in front and he forged clear from three out to account for the only other finisher The Big Breac by 40 lengths.
It’s probable that Focus Point will now contest a winners race.
The annual Tallow fixture takes place next Sunday (12.30pm start).