THE curtain came down on the Northern Region autumn sector of the point to point season at the North Down meeting at Kirkistown last Saturday.
‘On The Sod’, with Barry O’Neill aboard, landed the feature and, despite being unseen since winning a Downpatrick hunterchase in March, made it five wins from five starts for Derrylin trainer, David Christie. The winner was prominent for most of the trip, with his ability to jump well put to good use by the rider.
‘Poli Roli’ challenged and headed the winner before the last, however, ‘On The Sod’ rallied to good effect and looked the winner when the challenger departed at the final fence.
Christie said of the shrewdly bought purchase: “He might run at Oldtown in another open race and I’ll look for a winners hunterchase next year. Despite his age, he has minimal experience and I think there is more improvement to come. I hold him in high regard for the future.”
‘Jet Plane’ and ‘Carrig Sam’ were prominent for most the opening four-year-old maiden, with the former attempting to make all only for the last named to lunge late to prevail by a narrow margin and the duo look capable of success on the course proper. ‘Ringneill’, owned and bred by Siobhan Mackinnon from Comber, proved a popular winner being trained by Lisburn maestro, George Stewart, who now has limited numbers in training.
The winner led at the penultimate fence and readily extended his advantage on the bend entering the straight to score in facile fashion by an eased down nine lengths. The winner had finished runner up at the venue prior to winning at Armagh earlier in the year and is progressing in the right way and appearing capable of better in the coming months.
Rider, Declan Lavery was completing a double, having won the mares maiden aboard ‘Kates Hill’, which carried the colours of ‘Tammy’s Hill’, winner of the Cheltenham Foxhunters in 2014. Twice runner up on her only two previous efforts for Downpatrick trainer, Pat Turley and looks capable of further progression.
‘Outside The Ring’ endorsed the form of his second behind ‘Ask D Man’ at Portrush, when always prominent and jumping well to claim the finale for trainer, Neill McKnight and rider Oran McGill. The winning Maghera rider reached the final of an All-Ireland Minor Football Championship, with his Derry side losing out to Kerry at Croke Park in September 2017, prior to his interests centring on racing and making his riding debut at the venue and had earlier partnered ‘Justwest’ into second in the mares race for his father, Gary.
Brian Lawless and handler, Peter Croke were another duo to gain a brace on the day when ‘Carrig Rock’ – a half-brother to the winner of the opener won the geldings maiden for owner/ breeder Maurice Sheehy.
Saturday, November 21
Kirkistown point to point
First Race: 1) Carrig Sam, Brian Lawless; 2) Jet Plane; 3) Bold Sholokhov. 10 ran. 1/2 – 8.
Second Race: 1) Kates Hill, Declan Lavery; 2) Justwest; 3) Lady Boss. 9 ran. 4 – 4.
Third Race: 1) Carrig Rock, Brian Lawless; 2) Russell’s Quarter; 3) If Not For Dylan.
Fourth Race: 1) Ringneill, Declan Lavery; 2) Merrion Avenue; 3) Lowtown Boy. 5 ran. 9 – 8.
Fifth Race: 1) On The Sod, Barry O’Neill; 2) Coastal Tiep; 3) Lite Duties. 7 ran. 5 – 6.
Sixth Race: 1) Outside The Ring, Oran McGill; 2) Greco; 3) Airdrigh. 5 ran. 5 – 2 1/2.