THE Iveagh Hunt point to point fixture attracted an excellent attendance, aided by the fine weather, despite it being Grand National day.
Downpatrick trainer, Brian Hamilton registered a first when ‘Direct Fire’ claimed the opener in the same colours as National hero, ‘Tiger Roll’, being part of a small team of horses sent to the local trainer by the Gigginstown operation. The winner jumped well and quickened in the closing stages with top rider, Declan Lavery aboard, having been justified in getting an ill judged ban at Cheltenham recently overturned.
Hamilton said: “I’ll talk to Michael and Eddie O’Leary on what next – he may run on the course proper.”
‘Milan Flyer’, third the previous weekend in a superior open race at Portrush, turned out again quickly to land the feature for the second successive year. The result proved a family success with owner, Oran McGill scoring on his own horse supplying a first success in the saddle and the winner trained by his father, Gary.
The well-bred ‘The Mulcair’, being out of a half-sister to Gold Cup winner ‘Imperial Commander’, was left clear when ‘Clondaw Dancer’ fell at the penultimate fence to score for trainer Denis Murphy and Luke Murphy. The winner now heads to the sales ring.
County Antrim trainer and former top amateur, Rodney Arthur, who produced the high class ‘Black Op’ two seasons ago, won the older geldings maiden with ‘Duty Calls’ partnered by Luke McGuinness. The partnership recorded an emphatic success and will now target a winners contest.
Dromara based handler, Caroline McCaldin sprang a surprise in the mares maiden, when ‘Ballela Storm’ upset the odds to win with Ross McLeigh aboard. Brid O’Neill was another rider to record her initial victory when winning the finale on the Peter McCreery trained, ‘Alkaa Lion’, which will continue pointing.
Saturday, April 6
Moira point to point
First Race: 1) Direct Fire [Declan Lavery] 3/1; 2) Berties Girl; 3) Favori De Champou. 8 ran. 2 1/2 – 5 1/2.
Second Race: 1) The Mulcair [Luke Murphy] 4/1; 2) Big Leg Up; 3) Easkylane. 6 ran. 5 1/2 – 6 1/2.
Third Race: 1) Ballela Storm [Ross McLeigh] 10/1; 2) Fyfin Patsy; 3) Deo Bellator. 11 ran. 5 – 6.
Fourth Race: 1) Milan Flyer [Oran McGill] 7/2; 2) Hordenus Hulabaloo; 3) Lac Fontana. 5 ran. 1 – 3/4.
Fifth Race: 1) Duty Calls [Luke McGuinness] 4/1; 2) Devour; 3) Getaway Home. 6 ran. 15 – 1/2.
1) Alkaa Lion [Miss Brid O’Neill] 5/2; 2) Vinnies Nephue; 3) Lisnagreggan. 4 ran. 3 – 4.