THE Mid Antrim Hunt staged a point to point at their Broughshane venue on Saturday, May 8. Firm ground is unacceptable under the rules and the organisers made considerable efforts spiking and watering the course, which met with the approval of Northern Inspector of Courses, Frankie Fitzsimmons who said: “Full marks to the hunt, everything was perfect – they did an excellent job with the course and organising the protocols.”
A DAERA spokesperson advised: “Under the current regulations, outdoor competitive sporting events involving amateur competitors are permitted provided that the events:
– are organised by a club, individual or individuals affiliated, in each case, to a relevant sporting body or to an organisation that regulates and provides advice and guidance to members on matters relating to sport and physical activities; and
– consist of no more persons than are reasonably required and, in any event, no more than 100 persons. Indoor and outdoor competitions, in which all of the participants are elite athletes are also permitted. The term ‘elite athlete’ is defined in the relevant regulations as an individual who:
– derives all or the majority of their income from competing in sport;
– plays in a professional league or competition;
– is a senior representative nominated by a relevant sporting body; or
– is on an elite development pathway.
No spectators are permitted to attend sporting events at any level.”
Northern trainers dominated the fixture – winning all six contests while trainer, Stuart Crawford, along with Champion rider, Barry O’Neill and Ben Crawford all recorded doubles. Larne trainer, Crawford claimed the five-year-old geldings maiden with ‘Ree Okka’ prior to completing the brace with former top class chaser ‘Poli Roi’, which made most of the running in the open race feature to deny ‘Creadan Grae’, owned by the McBurney family, who supplied the venue – the pair partnered by the trainer’s brother, Ben.
Champion rider, Barry O’Neill landed the winners event on ‘Ask D Man’, trained at Derrylin by David Christie and is the winner of three of his four starts (disqualified in one race) and a very progressive type. The champion followed up in the older horses maiden on ‘Greco’ for local Cullybackey based trainer, Jamie Sloan at his home venue and is another winner to note.
Downpatrick handler, Brian Hamilton won the opener with debutante ‘See A Stride’ with Mikey Sweeney aboard – the winner owned by Gilmer Bates, son of former rider John Bates and a long standing member of the East Antrim Hunt team and the winner was the first horse to run in his colours.
The owner said: “If not sold privately, will go to the bloodstock sales.”
Another Downpatrick trainer, Pat Turley based in the centre of the racecourse, claimed the mares maiden with ‘Love Actually’, which was a degree lucky as ‘Nifty Getaway’ looked the possible winner until falling at the final fence.
Mid Antrim point to point
First Race: 1) See A Stride (Mikey Sweeney); 2) Hold Onto the Line; 3) War Soldier. 1 1/2 – 1. 10 ran.
Second Race: 1) Ree Okka (Ben Crawford); 2) Valirock; 3) Largy Reach. 3 – 3. 14 ran.
Third Race: 1) Love Actually (Declan Lavery); 2) Luck Of The Duck; 3) Katlaur. 5 – 6. 12 ran.
Fourth Race: 1) Poli Roi (Ben Crawford); 2) Creadan Grae; 3) Eddie’s Miracle. 2 – 5. 5 ran.
Fifth Race: 1) Ask D Man (Barry O’Neill); 2) Tareeshar; 3) Dento des Obeaux. 3 – 2. 6 ran.
Sixth Race: 1) Greco (Barry O’Neill); 2) Francesco Du Clos; 3) Fortyfive West. 6 – 1. 10 ran.