ELEVEN times All-Ireland Champion rider Derek O’Connor recorded a first as a trainer when ‘Southoftheborder’, partnered by the champion, registered a facile victory on his debut in the opener at the Fermanagh Hunt’s Necarne Castle point to point on Saturday – the only surprise was the generous starting price. The winner, obviously very well-schooled, was ridden patiently and wide prior to hitting the front before the last pecking on landing, but won eased down and is now for sale and will not be short of potential buyers.
‘The Storyteller’, owned by the Templepatrick Sloan family and winner of the Champion chase in 2020 at the Down Royal Festival of Racing and a multiple winner for trainer Gordon Elliott having won 11 races and in excess of £400,000 in prize money, duly qualified for the Foxhunter contests in the spring at Aintree and Cheltenham, when winning the open race feature.
The class of the winner was obvious at all stages of the race, with Barry O’Neill leading at the third last and without any hassle scored.
Elliott also supplied the third placed ‘Everything Now’, while the runner up ‘Global Assembly’ ran with great credit for local trainer David Christie and is certain to be a force in future open races.
The victory formed the middle leg of a hat trick for the current Irish champion rider, having claimed the finale aboard the Tom Dreaper trained ‘Sizing Diamond’, with an above average performance and looks capable of better, while also winning on ‘Marronstown’ in the winners’ event for Derrylin trainer David Christie at his local venue – the trainer having an amazing record at the track.
The Fermanagh horse, having won at the testing Armagh point to point, was bought by current connections and looks a good addition to the trainer’s powerful team of open horses and hunterchasers.
‘Ah Whisht’ was delivered to precision by Tom Harney on the line to claim the mares maiden, while ‘El Rio’ with Maghera rider Dara McGill in the saddle won the geldings maiden and the rider continues to be noted in the riders ranks.
Saturday, November 12
Necarne point to point
First Race: 1) Southoftheborder (Derek O’Connor) 4/1; 2) Molly’s Choice; 3) Wide Side Of Life. 1/2 – 12. 6 ran.
Second Race: 1) El Rio (Dara McGill) 3/1; 2) Ballylinch; 3) Buachaill Galanta. 5 – 1. 6 ran.
Third Race: 1) Ah Whisht (Tom Harney) 3/1; 2) Kayf Hope; 3) Quendale Bay. 1 – 40. 4 ran.
Fourth Race: 1) Marronstown (Barry O’Neill) 1/1 fav; 2) Big Reggie; 3) Miss Kanagi. 5 – 1 1/2. 5 ran.
Fifth Race: 1) The Storyteller (Barry O’Neill) 4/5 fav; 2) Global Assembly; 3) Everything Now. 2 – 10. 4 ran.
Sixth Race: 1) Sizing Diamond (Barry O’Neill) 5/4 fav; 2) Captain Call. 6 lengths. 5 ran, 2 finished.
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