THE conclusion of the autumn sector of the point to point season at the North Down fixture at the Kirkistown venue attracted a good attendance and doubles for Irish Champion rider, Barry O’Neill and the first brace of winners for Dromara handler, Caroline McCaldin.
The latter landed the second division of the opener, when ‘Hermes Allen’ with Noel McParlan aboard, showed the benefit of prior experience when making all and jumping fluently to win easily. ‘The Smurf’ can be noted, having recorded a solid effort and every chance when falling three out.
McCaldin said of the winner, owned by her father Wilson Dennison: “He’ll go to the sales now.”
The Dromara trainer had to wait until the finale to complete the double, when supplying the winner and third in the older maiden. ‘Dukehill’, partnered by Johnny Barry, opened his account when, after duelling with runner up ‘Hollybank King’ from three out, rallied to good effect to prevail, while the third placed ‘Ballymist’ was let down by his jumping several times.
McCaldin, delighted with her first double, said: “I’ll aim him at the Limerick hunterchase at the Christmas meeting.”
The Irish Champion rider, Barry O’Neill got the day off to a winning start when scoring on the Colin Bowe trained, ‘Champagne Town’ in the first division of the younger maiden. The winner, having always been handy, quickened impressively on the turn into the straight to lead prior to the last and register a facile success and is another destined for the Bloodstock sales.
‘Mount Wilson’ is one to note, having made much of running was overhauled on the turn at the bottom of the track and took a tried fall when beaten in fourth at the final fence.
The Gordon Elliott trained ‘The Creadan Rogue’ put earlier disappointments on the day for the trainer to one side, when always travelling within his comfort zone to record back to back victories in the winners contest to complete the Champion’s brace.
The Graham McKeever trained ‘Townhill Penny’ improved on her prior placed efforts to claim the mares maiden, with Mikey Sweeney content to wait until after the penultimate fence before hitting the front to win.
The most impressive horse on the day was ‘Blackcauseway’, which made a winning debut for Downpatrick trainer, Pat Turley. The debutante always galloped and jumped with aplomb at the head of affairs, with Declan Lavery in the saddle and appears one that can make his name on the course proper, while the second placed ‘Getaway Drumlee’ can open his account in the very near future.
The David Christie trained ‘Some Man’ readily asserted two from home when heading the front running ‘Nick Lost’ to claim the featured open race with Rob James aboard – the pair the only finishers of the four to start and the trainer advising the winner will continue to compete in open company.
The well supported ‘Brian Power’, which started joint favourite and winner of an American Grand National, was well beaten and pulled up before the last fence.
Saturday, November 20
Kirkistown point to point
First Race – Division One:
1) Champagne Town (Barry O’Neill) 5/1; 2) Bare Meadows; 3) Crebilly. 8 ran. 3 – 3.
First Race – Division Two:
1) Hermes Allen (Noel McParlan) 5/1; 2) Spectacular Genius; 3) L’Or Des Roses. 8 ran. 5 – 20.
1) Townhill Penny (Mikey Sweeney) 2/1; 2) Iconic Rock; 3) Ravensdale Rose. 6 ran. 3/4 – 8.
1) Blackcauseway (Declan Lavery) 6/4; 2) Getaway Drumlee; 3) Leitrim Chief. 12 ran. 3 – 6.
1) The Creadan Rogue (Barry O’Neill) 11/4; 2) Faith Loving; 3) Sholsang. 6 ran. 5 – 6.
1) Some Man (Rob James) 1/1; 2) Nick Lost. Only two finished. 12 lengths.
1) Dukehill (Johnny Barry) 7/4; 2) Hollybank King; 3) Ballymist. 6 ran. 1/2 – 2 1/2.